Some are calling Obama’s decision a “bait and switch”
While supporters say the Administration’s decision is in line with longstanding US policy, others say that Obama’s parting shot is a radical move with hidden consequences.
Just prior to Christmas, the Obama Administration, through Ambassador Samantha Power, refused to veto a UN Security Council resolution against Israel. In this case, the decision to abstain, or refuse to veto, carries the same effect as voting yes.
Ambassador Power said:
“Today, the Security Council reaffirmed its established consensus that settlements have no legal validity…. President Obama and Secretary Kerry have repeatedly warned – publically and privately – that the absence of progress toward peace and continued settlement expansion was going to put the two-state solution at risk, and threaten Israel’s stated objective to remain both a Jewish State and a democracy … This resolution reflects trends that will permanently destroy the hope of a two-state solution if they continue on their current course.”(emphasis added)
Likewise Ben Rhodes, Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, said:
“Netanyahu had the opportunity to pursue policies that would have led to a different outcome today…. In the absence of any meaningful peace process, as well as in the accelerated settlement activity, we took the decision that we did today to abstain on the resolution.” (emphasis added)
In short, the resolution castigates Israel for settlement building in controversial areas. In the past, similar decisions from the International Community were meant to prevent specific incidents that were perceived as Isreali overreach.
In this decision, outgoing President Obama is simply confirming to the International Community an anti-Israel stance. Many feel that his decision will prevent the Palestinians from negotiating for peace, as they may feel that International sentiment is on their side.
As Jpost put it, “We can only lament Obama’s decision, made in the twilight of his term. It hurts chances for direct negotiations, strengthen BDS and sullies Israel’s name. For all the strengthening of Israel’s defense deterrence and unprecedented financial aid that his administration heaped on Israel, this is Obama’s legacy; this is his parting shot.”
Will President-Elect Trump be able to change things for the better? Time will tell.
PHOTO VIA REUTERS