After delays and a strong objections from the President elect Donald Trump, outgoing President Barack Obama takes a parting shot at Israel by abstaining from a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) vote that declares Jewish housing in Biblical parts of Israel illegal, allowing the resolution to pass on Friday. Of the 15 nations represented on the UNSC, 14 supported the resolution, no votes opposing, and the United States abstaining. The results were greeted with applause.
The resolution called the Jewish houses in Judea, Samaria, Golan, and East Jerusalem a “flagrant violation under international law”. Submitted by Egypt and set to be voted on on Thursday, it was cancelled after much lobbying by Israel but resubmitted on Friday. President elect Donald Trump contacted the White House on Wednesday night, expressing his desire that the United States veto the resolution, releasing a statement to that effect. With only three weeks left in office, Obama chose to ignore Trump’s request, overturning a long-standing US policy.
Friday’s Resolution 2334 refers to Israel as “the occupying power”, stating that , “continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperiling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines”.
Israel responded by recalling ambassadors from New Zealand and Senegal,two of the countries that voted for the resolution. The United Kingdom, France, Russia and China all voted in favor of the resolution.
Some points covered by the resolution:
- Demands that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem
- Will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.
- The cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperiling the two-State solution.
- Calls upon all States in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.
- An end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967; and underscores in this regard the importance of the ongoing efforts to advance the Arab Peace Initiative, the initiative of France for the convening of an international peace conference.
The French led Peace initiative calls for an international conference on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The initiative will impose a two-state solution on Israel if an agreement was not achieved. Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu rejected this initiative, noting that the Palestinian Authority could achieve all their goals by simply refusing all of Israel’s offers.
A similar resolution passed in 1979, with America abstaining. A resolution in 2011 was vetoed by the Obama administration.