Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Noura Erakat on UNSC 2334: from Jadaliyya

"The most significant aspect of UNSC Resolution 2334 is that it forms the first break with an otherwise absolute US policy to obstruct every Palestinian effort to resist Israeli expansion, especially during the past eight years. During his tenure, President Barack Obama has witnessed and colluded in two massive Israeli onslaughts upon the Gaza Strip, helped shelve the Goldstone Report, and adopted an unprecedented thirty-eight billion US dollars memorandum of understanding with Israel that increases US military aid to it from 3.0 to 3.8 billon US dollars annually over the next ten years. The administration used its first veto in the Security Council in early 2011 to quash a resolution condemning settlements very similar to the one that has just passed, citing Washington’s distaste for internationalizing the conflict.

If the Obama Administration was concerned with ushering a new era of the peace process, it would have abstained five years ago and not mere weeks before departing office; or during Palestine’s 2011-12 statehood bid; or in 2015 when it quietly crushed an effort to set a deadline for ending the occupation in the United Nations’s law making body. The administration’s abstention appears more like a finger to US President-Elect Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rather than a change of heart. At this juncture of its tenure, the Obama Administration only had two embarrassing choices: to veto law and policy it has rhetorically upheld since 1967 or to abstain and expose Israel to international scrutiny. A veto was simply more costly in this instance. The resolution itself is not binding on member states and includes no enforcement mechanisms. In the wake of the UNSC 2334, Israel is set to approve 618 new settlements in East Jerusalem."