The U.S. abstained in a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements on disputed land. This enabled the Security Council to pass the resolution as all other members of the council voted in favor of it. The U.S. could have vetoed the resolution.
This decision by President Obama just a few weeks before his presidency ends was a final denunciation of PM Bibi Netanyahu after a very stormy eight-year relationship. During this time the U.S. has signaled that it would not unconditionally support the State of Israel as it had since its inception.
Hoping for a legacy moment, Obama wanted to make peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. This was a pipe dream that had no realistic chances of being achieved especially considering the animosity in the one-state, two-state negotiations. No informed expert really thought the president would make any substantive advances in the Palestinian situation, and they were right.
Maybe Obama should be looking inward. He and John Kerry were neither effective nor skilled enough to craft a pathway to peace. Exacerbating the process, from the Israeli perspective, was the inane decision by the Obama administration to endorse Iran’s nuclear program.
The abstention by the U.S. enabled the U.N. Security Counsel to perpetuate its political attack on Israel. The most disturbing aspect of this latest Israeli denunciation is that Donald Trump personally asked Obama to veto the mostly symbolic resolution.
It’s Trump’s intention to reestablish good relations with Israel. For instance he has stated that he would tear up the Iran nuclear deal, an arrangement that Israel believes poses an existential threat to the country.
Opposition to Obama’s abstention is coming from all quarters including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Minority Leader of the Senate. Numerous members of both political parties in the Senate and the House have also expressed their disapproval. The impudence of Obama to further upset U.S./Israeli relations at this late stage is inexcusable. It will certainly cause the international community of nations to think the old president and the new president are not on the same page.
The U.S. has been a staunch supporter of Israel since the country’s inception. Obama has negatively impacted the relationship between the countries by bickering with Netanyahu for eight years.
Trump should improve relations with Netanyahu on day one and state clearly that the U.S. stands strong with our most important ally in the Middle East. Unfortunately the U.S. will find little support from other countries.
Nevertheless Trump must be forceful dealing with Bibi moving forward. It’s unlikely that hostile terrorist groups will relent in the region so Israel will face continuing threats from a number of sources. Peace between Israel and Palestine would very beneficial to overall political stability in the region as elusive as it might seem.