Obama, finally

December 24, 2016
Sarah Benton

This posting has these items:
1) Al Jazeera: UN Security Council urges end to Israeli settlements, introduces all the players;
2) NY Times: Rebuffing Israel, U.S. Allows Censure Over Settlements, American responses;
3) Haaretz: Understanding the UN Resolution on Israeli Settlements: What Are the Immediate Ramifications?, Barak Ravid’s explains what’s significant;
4) EXCERPTS: Palestinian reaction, from the FT and AFP/The National;
5) Haaretz: Security Council Punch Knocks Netanyahu Down From Hubris to Humiliation, Chemi Shalev on facing reality;
6) Mondoweiss: Obama stands up to Trump (and Israel), Phyllis Bennis applauds Obama;
7) MEE: US abstains as UN Security Council passes resolution against Israeli settlements, Middle East Eye and the non-Arab actors;
8- Haaretz: Obama’s UN Vote on Israeli Settlements: Where Have You Been for 8 Years, Mr. President?, a harsh judgment on Obama from editor-in-chief Aluf Benn;
9) MEMO: The UN must not let Resolution 2334 be squandered, UNSC must ensure the resolution is put into operation;
10) Al Araby: Hamas welcomes UN vote condemning Israeli settlement building
11) UN: Security Council resolution, this page also includes the debate on Resolution 2334 (2016);
12) UN: Security Council resolution,
Resolution 465 (1980)

The UNSC votes on Resolution 2334

UN Security Council urges end to Israeli settlements

US abstains in demanding Israel to halt settlements on Palestinian land, allowing Security Council to pass resolution.

By Al Jazeera
December 24, 2016

The UN Security Council has voted in favour of a resolution demanding the halt of settlement activity by Israel on occupied Palestinian territory with the United States notably abstaining.

The resolution was put forward at the 15-member council for a vote on Friday by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal, a day after Egypt withdrew it under pressure from Israel and US president-elect Donald Trump.

Israel and Trump had called on the US to veto the measure.

“This is a day of victory for international law, a victory for civilised language and negotiation and a total rejection of extremist forces in Israel,” chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Reuters news agency.

“The international community has told the people of Israel that the way to security and peace is not going to be done through occupation … but rather through peace, ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state to live side by side with the state of Israel on the 1967 line,” Erekat said.

The resolution was adopted with 14 votes in favour to a resounding round of applause. It is the first resolution the Security Council has adopted on Israel and the Palestinians in nearly eight years.

“Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the UN and will not abide by its terms,” a statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

The United States’ abstention was the biggest rebuke in recent history to long-standing ally Israel, allowing the Security Council to condemn its settlements and continuing construction in Palestinian territory as a “flagrant violation” of international law.

The resolution said Israel’s settlements on Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, have “no legal validity.”

It demanded a halt to “all Israeli settlement activities”, saying this “is essential for salvaging the two-state solution”.

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had backtracked on the move to condemn Israel’s settlement policy on Thursday after receiving a phone call from US president-elect Donald Trump, who spoke out in favour of a US veto.

Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said his government had expected a US veto of “this disgraceful resolution”.

“I have no doubt that the new US administration and the incoming UN secretary-general will usher in a new era in terms of the UN’s relationship with Israel,” said Danon after the vote.

Trump said in a tweet: “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan 20th.”

Trump is likely to be a more staunch supporter of Netanyahu’s right-wing policies. He named a hardline, pro-Israel ambassador and vowed to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israeli settlements are seen as a major stumbling block to peace efforts as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

The United Nations maintains that settlements are illegal, but UN officials have reported a surge in construction over the past months.

Yuval Steinitz, Israeli energy minister, accused the US of abandoning Israel by abstaining.

This is not a resolution against settlements, it is an anti-Israel resolution, against the Jewish people and the state of the Jews. The United States tonight has simply abandoned its only friend in the Middle East,Steinitz, who is close to Netanyahu, told Channel Two News.

Some 430,000 Israeli settlers currently live in the West Bank and a further 200,000 Israelis live in occupied East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians see as the capital of their future state.

The passage of the resolution changes nothing on the ground between Israel and the Palestinians, and likely will be all but ignored by the incoming Trump administration.

The resolution formally enshrined the international community’s disapproval of Israeli settlement building and could spur further Palestinian moves against Israel in international forums.

Sharif Nashashibi, a London-based analyst of Arab political affairs, told Al Jazeera he feared the vote will be just one of many UN resolutions that Israel will flout.

“We don’t have any mechanism to put tangible pressure on Israel to abide by this resolution, so I fear that despite the passing of this resolution, the Security Council has still proved itself largely irrelevant to this conflict,” Nashashibi said.

Before the vote, a senior Israeli official said if adopted there was “zero chance” the Israeli government would abide by the measure. Under the UN Charter, UN member states “agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council”.

Tweeted by Barak Ravid, March 19, 2015: “Obama told Netanyahu [at the meeting above] that in light of his new position against Palestinian state U.S. will re-assess its options on the issue”.

* * * * *

J.Post response:

The 2016 decision was “shameful,” the Prime Minister repeated multiple times.

“The Security Council decision calls Israeli land occupied and that is just shameful, the decision calls the Western Wall occupied land, it is shameful,” Netanyahu said.

Speaking of US President Barak Obama’s choice to abstain from voting, Netanyahu said that Obama went against Israel, backing out of the commitment it had made to stand for Israel.

“The decision not only does not help us make peace, it stands in the way of peace,” stated Netanyahu. Photo unattributed.

Rebuffing Israel, U.S. Allows Censure Over Settlements

By Somini Sengupta and Rick Gladstone, NY Times
December 23, 2016

UNITED NATIONS — Defying extraordinary pressure from President-elect Donald J. Trump and furious lobbying by Israel, the Obama administration on Friday allowed the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution that condemned Israeli settlement construction.

The administration’s decision not to veto the measure reflected its accumulated frustration over Israeli settlements. The American abstention on the vote also broke a longstanding policy of shielding Israel from action at the United Nations that described the settlements as illegal.

While the resolution is not expected to have any practical impact on the ground, it is regarded as a major rebuff to Israel, one that could increase its isolation over the paralyzed peace process with Israel’s Palestinian neighbors, who have sought to establish their own state on territory held by Israel.

Applause broke out in the 15-member Security Council’s chambers after the vote on the measure, which passed 14 to 0, with the United States ambassador, Samantha Power, raising her hand as the lone abstention. Israel’s ambassador, Danny Danon, denounced the measure, and castigated the council members who had approved it.

“Would you ban the French from building in Paris?” he told them.

The resolution describes the settlement building as a “major obstacle” to peace and demands that Israel stop the construction, which most the world regards as illegal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who had scrambled in recent days to stop the measure from coming to a vote, issued a blistering denunciation afterward.

“Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. and will not abide by its terms,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a statement. “At a time when the Security Council does nothing to stop the slaughter of half a million people in Syria, it disgracefully gangs up on the one true democracy in the Middle East, Israel, and calls the Western Wall ‘occupied territory.’ ”

Mr. Netanyahu immediately retaliated against two of the countries that sponsored the resolution. He ordered Israel’s ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal to return home for consultations, canceled a planned visit to Israel next month by Senegal’s foreign minister and cut off all aid programs to Senegal.

The vote came a day after Mr. Trump personally intervened to keep the measure, which had been originally proposed by Egypt, from coming up for a vote on Thursday, as scheduled. Mr. Trump’s aides said he had spoken to Mr. Netanyahu. Both men also spoke to the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Egypt postponed the vote under what that country’s United Nations ambassador called intense pressure.

But in a show of mounting exasperation, four other countries on the Security Council — Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela — all of them relatively powerless temporary members with rotating two-year seats, snatched the resolution away from Egypt and put it up for a vote Friday.

Document: U.N. Security Council Draft Resolution on the Middle East Peace Process

The Obama administration has been highly critical of Israel’s settlement building, describing it as an impediment to a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has long been the official United States position, regardless of the party in power.

Mr. Trump, who had urged the administration to veto the resolution, has made clear that he will take a far more sympathetic approach to Israel when his administration assumes office on Jan. 20.

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th. 8:14 PM – 23 Dec 2016
Mr. Trump’s comments on the resolution amounted to his most direct intervention on United States foreign policy during his transition to power. Minutes after the Security Council vote was announced, Mr. Trump made his anger known in a Twitter posting, saying: “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.”

A range of senators and congressmen from both parties also denounced the resolution, a reflection of the deep loyalty to Israel shared by Democrats and Republicans. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said, “It is extremely frustrating, disappointing and confounding that the administration has failed to veto this resolution.”

Construction at an Israeli settlement in the West Bank in 2015. Photo by Tomas Munita for The New York Times

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who oversees a subcommittee that oversees United Nations funding by the United States, threatened to take steps that could “suspend or significantly reduce” that financing.

Reaction to the resolution also illustrated fissures among American Jews regarding Israeli policy. Some, like the World Jewish Congress and American Jewish Committee, called the resolution a one-sided measure that would not help the peace process. Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said in a statement: “It is also disconcerting and unfortunate that the United States, Israel’s greatest ally, chose to abstain rather than veto this counterproductive text.”

Other groups that have grown increasingly critical of the Israeli government’s approach to the peace process applauded the resolution and the Obama administration’s decision not to block it.

J Street, a Washington-based organization that advocates a two-state solution, said the resolution “conveys the overwhelming support of the international community, including Israel’s closest friends and allies, for the two-state solution, and their deep concern over the deteriorating status quo between Israelis and Palestinians and the lack of meaningful progress toward peace.”

Ms. Power, the United States ambassador, portrayed the abstention as consistent with the American disapproval of settlement-building, but she also criticized countries at the United Nations for treating Israel unfairly. She said the United States remained committed to its “steadfast support” for Israel and reminded the council that Israel received an enormous amount of American military aid.

Ms. Power said the United States chose not to veto the resolution, as it had done to a similar measure under Mr. Obama in 2011, because settlement building had accelerated so much that it had put the two-state solution in jeopardy, and because the peace process had gone nowhere. She said:

Today the Security Council reaffirmed its established consensus that settlements have no legal validity. The United States has been sending a message that settlements must stop privately and publicly for nearly five decades.

She also rebuked Palestinian leaders for “too often” failing to condemn violence against Israeli civilians. But she directed a portion of her remarks to Mr. Netanyahu, whose relations with the Obama administration have never been warm.

“One cannot simultaneously champion expanding Israeli settlements and champion a viable two-state solution that would end the conflict,” she said, arguing that the settlements have undermined Israel’s security.

Israel’s ambassador, Mr. Danon, who had exhorted the American delegation to block the measure, expressed his anger in a statement that looked forward to a change in policy under Mr. Trump.

“It was to be expected that Israel’s greatest ally would act in accordance with the values that we share and that they would have vetoed this disgraceful resolution,” he said.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, welcomed the resolution’s adoption but tempered his approval with a warning. “In reality, today’s action may be too little too late,” he said. “After years of allowing the law to be trampled and the situation to spiral downward, today’s resolution may rightly be seen as a last attempt to preserve the two-state solution and revive the path for peace.”

The resolution condemned Israeli housing construction in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank as a “flagrant violation under international law” that was “dangerously imperilling the viability” of a future peace settlement establishing a Palestinian state. [see below]

The resolution also included a nod to Israel and its backers by condemning “all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement and destruction.” That language is diplomatic scolding aimed at Palestinian leaders, whom Israel accuses of encouraging attacks on Israeli civilians.

Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls the Gaza Strip and is deemed a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel, expressed appreciation to the Security Council. “We praise the countries that voted for the resolution,” said Hazem Kassem, a spokesman for the group. “We emphasize the need to turn such a resolution into action, not only to halt settlements but to eradicate Israel’s occupation in all its forms.”

Understanding the UN Resolution on Israeli Settlements: What Are the Immediate Ramifications?

Can Trump’s administration overturn the Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements? Why didn’t Putin veto it? What are the short- and long-term implications? A guide to make sense of the mess.

By Barak Ravid, Haaretz premium
December 24, 2016

The resolution against Israeli settlements adopted by the United Nations Security Council Friday sent out diplomatic, political and media shockwaves. After thousands of reports, analyses and spins, here is a guide to make sense of the mess.

Is this the first UNSC resolution concerning Israeli settlements?

No. But it is the first to deal so specifically with the settlements in over 35 years. The previous such resolution, Resolution 465, was adopted by the Security Council in March 1980 (you can read it in full here see below). That being said, since 1980, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has undergone dramatic changes, the extent of the Israeli settlement enterprise has grown dramatically, and international community’s focus on the settlements as a threat to the viability of the two-state solution has also increased markedly.

Is this the first time an American president declines to veto a UNSC resolution on Israel-Palestine?

No. Since 1967, all U.S. presidents have allowed the adoption of Security Council resolutions. To this day, 47 resolutions concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been adopted by the UNSC, all during the presidencies of presidents other than Obama. President George H. W. Bush allowed nine resolutions to pass during his presidency.

During President Bill Clinton’s presidency three resolutions were adopted by the UNSC. In fact, this is the first time Obama refrained from using the U.S. veto in the Security Council when it came to Israel since he entered the White House eight years ago. Last time a resolution on Israel was brought to a vote at the Security Council in February 2011, a resolution also concerning the Israeli settlements, Obama vetoed it.

Did Obama break a decades-long tradition according to which presidents don’t make policy changes in the interim between administrations?

No. Quite a few presidents have used the interim period between the election of a new president and his inauguration in which they are freed from political constraints to carry out far reaching foreign policy changes, including with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. For example, President Ronald Reagan used this interim period in 1988 to begin a dialogue with the PLO. President Clinton used this period to present the “Clinton Parameters” in which he guidelines for the solving of key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Does the resolution change the legal status of the settlements, which are already illegal under international law?

No. The Fourth Geneva Convention bans nations from the moving of populations into and the establishing of settlements in the territory of another nation won in war. An overwhelming number of countries have sided for years with the position that the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal and constitute a violation of international law.

What are the immediate ramifications of the UNSC resolution?

The resolution adopted by the Security Council will have no practical ramifications for Israel. The resolution doesn’t include any coercive measures or define sanctions for those who violate it, except for a mechanism by which the United Nations’ secretary general will submit a report on the state of settlement construction to the Security Council every three months. The reason for this is that the resolution was adopted under the United Nations Charter’s Chapter 6, and thus is non-binding and only constitutes a show of intent and a recommendation.

The resolution is a form of diplomatic message to Israel and sets the international consensus on the settlements and further isolates Israel with regard to this issue. In order for this resolution to become binding and to allow for coercion or the imposition of sanctions by the international community it would have to be adopted under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter.

In the long-term, what are the possible ramifications?

In the medium-to-long-term the resolution may have serious ramifications for Israel in general and specifically for the settlement enterprise. The reason for this stems from the two main clauses of the resolution. The first clause states that the settlements have “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

The International Criminal Court in The Hague is currently conducting a preliminary investigation concerning a suit filed against Israel by the Palestinians. One of the issues raised in the suit is the construction of settlements. International law takes form through different measures including Security Council resolutions. Thus, this decision, at this time, could influence the preliminary investigation and could provide cause for the ICC prosecutor to order a full investigation of Israel settlement construction.

Another clause in the resolution calls on the nations of the world “to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.” This is a precedent in UNSC resolutions concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and actually calls on countries to cut ties direct and indirect with the settlements. This clause may create a path for countries, international organizations such as the EU, and corporations to impose sanctions on the settlements. The Foreign Ministry’s assessment is that the EU would have to pass a similar resolution in its institutions and base practical steps and legislation from it.

Will President-elect Donald Trump’s administration be able to overturn the resolution or pass an opposite resolution?

Theoretically yes, though in practice not really. In order to overturn the resolution Trump would have to pass an opposite resolution, which will in fact state that the settlements are legal and are not an obstacle to peace, get the support of at least eight members of the Security Council not including the U.S. and ensure that Russia, China, France, and the U.K. don’t veto it. This is unlikely to say the least. Minutes after the resolution was adopted Trump tweeted that after January 20th, things in the UN will look differently. Trump will be able to influence the work of the UNSC from here on out, but history proves that there is a not insignificant chance that he too will find himself avoiding the use of a veto on the Israel-Palestinian issue.

Will the Trump administration or Republican lawmakers stop the U.S. funding for the UN?

Some senior Republicans, including Lindsey_Graham, who is chairman of the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, have already announced that they will take action to cut and even stop completely the U.S. funding of UN institutions in response to the adoption of the resolution. The U.S. has taken similar action with respect to the UN’s cultural arm UNESCO, when it accepted Palestine as a full-pledged member. The result has been that the U.S. has lost its vote in UNESCO and its influence on the organization has dramatically ebbed. This adversely affected Israel, which could no longer count on the U.S. to stop anti-Israeli measures taken by UNESCO.

If the relationship between Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin is so good, why didn’t Russia veto the resolution?

The allegedly close relations between Netanyahu and Putin fall short when it comes to Russian interests and UN votes. Russia [has been] one of the main supporters of the Palestinians over the last 50 years. During those years and today as well Russia has been voting against Israel in every possible international forum. It is possible that things will change in the future, but at least at this stage a Russian veto on a UNSC resolution concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict belongs to the realm of science fiction and not diplomacy.

Palestinian reaction

EXTRACT from FT’s US abstains as UN condemns Israeli settlements

America’s decision not to wield its veto was greeted with jubilation in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative, a political party, said it was a “great victory for the Palestinian people” and their cause. “It shows that the Palestinians aren’t isolated, it is Israel and those who are with it who are isolated.”

Mr Barghouti said the resolution “opens the door” to putting sanctions and boycotts on Israel. But such efforts would be complicated by the fact that any UN measures to force Israel to comply would be opposed by a Trump administration. Following the vote, Mr Trump tweeted: “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.”

“The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it colluded with it behind the scenes,” said Mr Netanyahu’s office. “Israel looks forward to working with president-elect Trump and with all our friends in Congress . . . to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution.”

UN demands halt to Israeli settlements

BY AFP /The National
December 24, 2016

Israel asked Mr Trump to intervene after learning that Washington, in a reversal of its policy under president Barack Obama, would not veto the resolution, an Israeli official said.

Mr Trump, who had issued a statement demanding that Washington exercise its veto, called Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi.


Egypt’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Trump, while as yet holding no State office, rang him to fix an Egyptian rejection of resolution 2334. Photo by Reuters.

The phone call “touched on the draft resolution on Israeli settlements”, the Egyptian presidency said yesterday.

“The two leaders agreed on the importance of giving the new administration a chance to deal comprehensively with all the aspects of the Palestinian cause to achieve a comprehensive settlement,” it said.

The Egyptian turnaround surprised many but follows repeated expressions of admiration for Mr Trump from Mr El Sisi, a former general who removed his Muslim Brotherhood predecessor after mass protests in 2013, leading Mr Obama to temporarily suspend military aid.

Mr Trump’s intervention and the Egyptian decision to postpone the vote appeared to have caught Washington off guard, with US secretary of state John Kerry cancelling plans for a speech laying out a vision for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Mr Kerry spoke to Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry on Wednesday and then, after the Egyptian decision, to Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday.

Mr Obama’s administration has expressed mounting anger over the continued expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, and speculation has grown that he could launch another initiative before leaving office next month.

A senior Security Council diplomat suggested that the motion could be buried indefinitely.

“There was a window of opportunity. Whether that window is still there is really not clear,” the western diplomat said.

Mr Trump, who campaigned on a promise to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, had said Washington should use its veto to block the resolution.

“As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations,” he said.

Mr Trump has picked David Friedman to be the US ambassador to Israel. Mr Friedman, a hardliner, has said that Washington will not pressure Israel to curtail building settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli settlements are viewed as a major stumbling block to peace efforts because they are built on land that the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

The UN maintains that the settlements are illegal, but UN officials have reported a surge in construction over the past months.

The Middle East peace process has been moribund since a US initiative to relaunch peace talks collapsed in April 2014.

France has announced plans to host an international conference on January 15 to try to restart talks based on the two-state solution.

Security Council Punch Knocks Netanyahu Down From Hubris to Humiliation

The prime minister recruited Trump against Obama but the gambit blew up in his face, just as it did in the Iran deal.

By Chemi Shalev, Haaretz premium
December 24, 2016

The UN Security Council dealt a harsh diplomatic blow to the government of Israel and its cherished settlement project on Friday. The international community stood shoulder to shoulder against Israel; its closest ally abandoned Benjamin Netanyahu in his time of need. Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem were declared illegal under international law. The June 4, 1967 borders were reaffirmed once again. A legal framework was laid down for punitive measures by the United Nations and individual states against settlements in particular and Israel in general.

Resolution 2334 shatters the government-induced illusion that the settlement project has been normalized, that it passed the point of no return, that it is now a fait accompli that will remain unchallenged.

In recent years, after President Obama desisted from efforts to advance the peace process. Netanyahu, his ministers and settler leaders had behaved as if the battle was over: Israel built and built, the White House objected and condemned, the facts on the ground were cemented in stone. You can have your cake and eat it too, the government implied: thumb your nose at Washington and the international community, build in the West Bank as if there’s no tomorrow and still get $38 billion dollars in unprecedented military aid.

The so-called Formalization Bill recently approved by the cabinet, which sought to legalize outposts that Israel had once vowed to uproot, was one bridge too far, or, as the vulgar Israeli expression puts it, was like pissing from the high springboard: U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power singled it out as one of the catalyzers of the Security Council move.

The resolution is a personal slap in the face for Netanyahu, a parting shot by a president that appreciated his Israeli counterpart less the more he got to know him. It was doubly embarrassing for Netanyahu because of the victory celebrations that his office had orchestrated only a few hours earlier, after Egypt had announced it was postponing its anti-settlement proposal. Netanyahu’s spokespersons, confidantes and supporters in Israel and the United States feted the Prime Minister’s tactical genius and magical influence over world leaders, from President-elect Trump to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.

Within a few short hours, Netanyahu was left, not for the first time, with egg on his face. He fell from hubris to humiliation in one fell swoop.

Netanyahu now claims that Obama was part of an anti-Israel conspiracy

Just like his self-destructive moves to block the nuclear deal with Iran, Netanyahu was too clever by half. At his side, once again, was the architect of that failed gambit, Ambassador Ron Dermer. Just as they had gone behind Obama’s back to secure Netanyahu’s invitation to protest against the Iran deal in Congress and thus strengthened Obama’s resolve to fight them tooth and nail, the dynamic duo openly and brazenly tried to circumvent Obama once again by courting Trump, as if he was already president.

Netanyahu now claims that Obama was part of an anti-Israel conspiracy and that he had planned to abstain in the Security Council all along; be that as it may, what is certain is that if Obama was having any doubts or second thoughts, Netanyahu’s shticks and tricks were enough to persuade him to leave the Israeli prime minister hanging by himself, high and dry.

Netanyahu’s manoeuvres also left his BFF al-Sissi in the lurch: the Egyptian ambassador to the UN made a startling confession to the Security Council that his country had succumbed to extraordinary external pressures. One is left to wonder whatever happened to the dramatic diplomatic breakthroughs that Netanyahu has been touting recently. Where was Vladimir Putin, everyone’s favourite tyrant? What about China, which is increasingly putting its money into the Israeli high tech industry? What happened to the demise of the “automatic majority” against Israel, that Netanyahu had been projecting? How is it that despite the supposed sea change, when push came to shove, Israel was just as isolated as before? And when the president of the U.S. stepped aside, it was stripped naked, for the all the world to see.

The depth of Netanyahu’s political embarrassment will now determine the ferocity of his response. The campaign against Obama was launched already on Friday night, as Netanyahu accused the U.S. president of “colluding” against Israel and his ministers returned to the bad old days of besmirching Obama as an enemy of Israel. Netanyahu, as usual, might even derive political benefits from his predicament: he is a master, after all, at deflecting the Israeli public’s attention away from his failures to the supposed enemies at the gate. The settlers might also reap some advantage: the usual Pavlovian reaction is for Israel to announce a “proper Zionist reaction” such as building even more settlements, rather than looking squarely at the deadly trap in which they have ensnared the country.

Obama has made it clear that he’s a Jew hating, anti-Semite

Morton Klein, ZOA president

Obama won’t be surprised. He’s seen this movie before, several times over, but nonetheless decided to abstain. “Obama has made it clear that he’s a Jew hating, anti-Semite” said Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, a prime representative of the no-holds-barred, in-your-face Jewish right wing that is in the ascendant now that Trump is about to become president. Klein’s strident vocabulary comes from the same dictionary used by Trump’s ambassador-designate to Israel, David Friedman, who was joined Friday by Trump’s other adviser on Israel affairs, Jason Greenblatt, whom Trump appointed as chief international negotiator. A moment before U.S.-Israeli relations are taken over by Trump’s Jewish emissaries, some with pseudo-Kahanist views, Obama decided to remind the world what he thinks of both Netanyahu and the settlements, even though he knew full well that it would tarnish his legacy with many American Jews.

Indeed, in many ways the Security Council vote is Obama’s last hurrah, the swan song not only of his presidency but of unequivocal American support for a two-state solution and opposition to Jewish settlements, a policy which, one must admit, Obama was better at formulating than actually achieving. Trump made clear immediately after the vote that “things will be different after January 20th” and Netanyahu quickly said that the day couldn’t come soon enough. But make no mistake: the Security Council’s deed cannot be undone. Whatever price Israel will pay for it will not change, with or without Trump.

And before Trump is declared Israel’s saviour and a righteous gentile, it’s worthwhile pointing out that his reaction to the U.S. abstention was suspiciously restrained, on the one hand, but tweeted out at the same time that the president-elect was proclaiming a whole new policy on nuclear empowerment that bucked four decades of U.S. restraint and shocked the international arms control community. Even before the Security Council vote, Netanyahu couldn’t hide his jubilation at the impending transfer of power in Washington. He is certain that everything is hunky-dory, that he’s survived the Pharaoh in the White House and that happy days with Trump are just around the corner. But the Security Council decision is a stark reminder of a helpful rule: When Netanyahu’s head is in the clouds, its best to check up on the bomb shelters.

Obama stands up to Trump (and Israel)

By Phyllis Bennis, Mondoweiss
December 24, 2016

Just yesterday, the Security Council passed a resolution condemning Israeli settlements, demanding a complete end to settlement activity, and holding the settlements a violation of international law. For the first time, the US allowed such a resolution to pass – abstaining rather than vetoing the resolution as it always had in the past.

The resolution’s passage was a huge slap in the face to Donald Trump’s overnight efforts, with Israel and Egypt, to seize control of Middle East diplomacy weeks before he is inaugurated as president. In the days before the vote, word had spread that the Obama administration was considering abstaining, rather than vetoing the resolution. Israeli officials reacted with predictable fury, bringing intensive pressure on Egypt to withdraw its draft resolution. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tweeted a late-night demand that the US veto the resolution. Trump responded with his own middle-of-the-night tweet, also insisting that the Obama administration veto the resolution.

Trump – who was still, we should remember, a civilian with no governmental authority – then called Egyptian President Sisi, and held what Sisi’s spokesperson described as a wide-ranging discussion on Middle East issues, including the settlement resolution. In response to that call, Egypt announced it was withdrawing its own draft, with officials acknowledging that the goal was to provide the incoming Trump administration free rein to determine its own Middle East policy.

At that point four Council members (Malaysia, Senegal, Venezuela and New Zealand) decided to promote the Egyptian resolution without Cairo, and the discussion and vote were rescheduled for Friday afternoon. The vote was 14 in favour with one – Washington’s – abstention.

There are three important considerations regarding this vote. One, the resolution means the Obama administration is tacitly acknowledging the inadequacy of its earlier policy that claimed rhetorically to condemn settlements, but in fact vetoed any resolution that might actually have an impact on Israel’s settlement violations. (The US vetoed a similar Security Council resolution in 2011.) Despite UN Ambassador Samantha Power’s post-vote speech decrying how Israel is allegedly treated differently than every other country at the United Nations, the US position speaks volumes about the stark reality of Israeli violations. It is a huge contribution to Obama’s legacy on the Middle East.

The resolution is also important because of its operative language – far stronger than most earlier Council drafts even attempted. It condemns the very establishment of the settlements in the 1967 occupied Palestinian territory as having “no legal validity” and constituting “a flagrant violation under international law,” while demanding that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities.” In language clearly aimed at Israeli efforts to derail growing European prohibitions on allowing settlement-produced goods into the European Union, it calls on all countries “to distinguish…between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.” In its introduction it condemns “all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition” of the occupied territory, including “the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians.” (There is also a condemnation of efforts to change the “status” of the occupied territory, which Israel could conceivably claim refers to efforts to build international recognition of Palestine as a “state,” but the framework clearly implies condemnation of the actions of the occupying power, not the occupied population.)

And third, the process throws into even starker relief the threat posed by Trump’s off-the-cuff pro-Israel actions, far more extreme than those of even the most pro-Israeli administrations in US history – especially when those actions are tied to his assertion of unbridled power even before being sworn in. Trump is still a private citizen; it remains an open question – that should be immediately investigated by the US Justice Department – whether his direct engagement with the Egyptian president violates the Logan Act’s prohibition of any non-authorized US citizen negotiating US foreign policy with a foreign government.

The next four weeks – the last of President Obama’s term – will likely remain contentious as the Trump operation attempts to usurp more presidential power in the interest of Trump’s extremist agenda. Once he comes into power, Palestinian rights will likely be among the first to be threatened. After the historic UN vote, the Israeli ambassador called Friday “A bad day for this Council.” He was wrong. This was one of the Council’s best days in a while. We should savor it – without a lot of work, we’re not likely to see too many more days like this any time soon
Bennis first posted these comments on her Facebook page. 

US abstains as UN Security Council passes resolution against Israeli settlements

United States did not use its veto and 14 countries voted in favour of resolution condemning settlements in occupied West Bank

The UN Security Council on Friday passed a resolution demanding Israel halt building settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.

The United States refused to use its veto, abstaining from voting, while the 14 other countries on the 15-member council voted in favour of the resolution.

US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said that because the resolution “reflects the facts on the ground and is consistent with US policy… we did not veto it.”

Israel’s UN ambassador criticised the US abstention, saying he had “no doubt” the forthcoming Donald Trump administration and new UN secretary general would usher in a different era in UN-Israel ties.

The resolution, brought to the vote by non-Arab nations, demanded that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem”, and said the establishment of settlements by Israel has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

Power hit back at the Israeli criticism.

“The United States has been sending a message that the settlements must stop privately and publicly for nearly five decades,” she told the Security Council after the vote.

“One cannot simultaneously champion expanding Israeli settlements and champion a viable two state solution that would end the conflict. One had to make a choice between settlements and separation.”

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the United States abandoned Israel by abstaining from voting on Friday.

This is a day of victory for international law

Saeb Erekat, Palestinian official

“This is not a resolution against settlements, it is an anti-Israel resolution, against the Jewish people and the state of the Jews. The United States tonight has simply abandoned its only friend in the Middle East,” Steinitz told Channel Two News.

Power replied that “continued settlement building seriously undermines Israel’s security.”

US bipartisan outrage

The repercussions of the vote were felt at home as well for the US delegation, as Obama faced bipartisan outrage over the resolution.

Incoming Democratic Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, who had urged Obama to veto the UN measure, took to Twitter to voice his frustration with the administration’s abstention.

Chuck Schumer ✔ @SenSchumer
Extremely frustrating, disappointing & confounding that the Administration has failed to veto the UN resolution.
8:59 PM – 23 Dec 2016

Other ranking congressional Democrats also sided with Trump and Israel against Obama.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal described allowing the vote as “unconscionable”.

US Representative Eliot Engel, a Democrat from New York, said Israel does not get a “fair shake” at the United Nations, which is why it needs the US veto. Engel criticised Obama for accepting the “one-sided, biased resolution”.

US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator John McCain, both Republicans, blasted the Obama administration’s decision.

Ryan said in a statement the US abstention was “absolutely shameful” and a “blow to peace”. McCain said in a statement the US move “has made us complicit in this outrageous attack.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian officials hailed the resolution as a victory against the occupation. The Palestinian presidency said the vote was a “big blow” to Israel.

“This is a day of victory for international law, a victory for civilised language and negotiation and a total rejection of extremist forces in Israel,” Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat told Reuters.

“The international community has told the people of Israel that the way to security and peace is not going to be done through occupation … but rather through peace, ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state to live side by side with the state of Israel on the 1967 line.”

The US decision to abstain was a relatively rare step by Washington, which usually shields Israel from such actions.

It is the first resolution the Security Council has adopted on Israeli-Palestinian conflict in nearly eight years.

The US abstention was seen as a parting shot by US President Barack Obama, who has had a difficult relationship with Netanyahu.

A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted.

Resolution passed… finally

New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela requested a vote after Egypt, under pressure from US President-elect Trump, sought to delay the measure.

The resolution drafted by the Palestinians and initially presented by Egypt on behalf of the Arab Group had unleashed a frenzy of lobbying by Israel to block it.

Egypt had circulated the draft to the council late Wednesday and requested a vote the following day, but backtracked just hours before that meeting.

“The sky is falling narrative on this just does not work. It is standard US policy that Israel’s actions on settlements have been and continue to be an impediment to peace.”

-Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab American Institute
The Egyptian presidency confirmed that the delay was decided during a phone call between President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Trump.

Israel had asked Trump to intervene after learning that Washington, in a reversal of its policy under Obama, would not veto the resolution, an Israeli official said.

“This resolution is a Palestinian initiative which is intended to harm Israel,” said Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon after prospects for the vote were revived.

“We call on the United States to stand by us and we expect our greatest ally to continue with its long-standing policy and to veto this resolution.”

‘More than symbolical’

Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab American Institute, a Washington-based think tank, criticised Trump’s efforts to block the resolution, “when the resolution simply restates conventional world wisdom on the subject.

“The sky is falling narrative on this just does not work,” Berry told Middle East Eye. “It is standard US policy that Israel’s actions on settlements have been and continue to be an impediment to peace.”

She added that the two-state solution is becoming nonviable because of settlement expansion.

Despite media reports emphasising feuds between Obama and Netanyahu over the Iran nuclear deal, Berry said the US administration did not veto the resolution to emphasise Washington’s stance on settlements and the peace process, not to irk the Israeli government or Trump.

Berry said Democrats and Republicans denouncing Obama over the UN vote fail to see it within the context of US policy. She added that calling Obama’s decision anti-Israeli is a distraction.

“The reality is we have failed leadership when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and this was an attempt to get the world to pay attention and say one of the biggest barriers to finding a resolution is the continued settlement growth,” she added.

Berry joked that 2334, the number of the UNSC resolution might end up as a hashtag on social media, but she stressed its significance.

“While Israel has already announced that it won’t be bound by it, that just shun this particular Israeli government from the rest of the world community and demonstrates that it is not interested in making peace,” Berry said. “It’s more than a symbolical importance. It’s important that the world went on record and gave us a very clear indication of what the intent of this government currently operating in Israel is.”

Trump calls Sisi

The Egyptian turnaround surprised many but followed repeated expressions of admiration for Trump by Sisi, a former military chief who overthrew his Muslim Brotherhood-backed predecessor in 2013, leading Obama to temporarily suspend military aid to Cairo.

A Egyptian statement said “the two leaders agreed on the importance of giving the new administration a chance to deal comprehensively with all the aspects of the Palestinian cause to achieve a comprehensive settlement.”

The French ambassador stressed that the draft resolution “does not exclusively focus on settlements. It also condemns the violence and terrorism. It also calls to prevent all incitement from the Palestinian side so this is a balanced text.”

“The key goal that we have here is to preserve and reaffirm the two state-solution,” said Francois Delattre.

Obama’s administration has expressed mounting anger over the continued expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

“After becoming aware that the (US) would not veto the anti-Israel resolution, Israeli officials reached out to Trump’s transition team to ask for the president-elect’s help to avert the resolution,” an Israeli official said on condition of anonymity.

Israeli settlements are seen as a major stumbling block to peace efforts, as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

Trump, who campaigned on a promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, bluntly said that Washington should use its veto to block the resolution.

“The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed,” he said in a statement before the vote.

“As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations.”

After the vote, Trump vowed that the country’s policies at the United Nations will change after he takes office.

“As to the UN, things will be different after Jan 20th,” he said on Twitter, referring to the date of his inauguration.

Trump has chosen as ambassador to Israel the hardliner David Friedman, who has said Washington will not pressure Israel to curtail settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

Obama’s UN Vote on Israeli Settlements: Where Have You Been for 8 Years, Mr. President?

Instead of justifying his Nobel Peace Prize, Obama wasted his presidency on empty talk. Under the outgoing president, the U.S. effort to end the Israeli occupation met its demise.

By Aluf Benn, Haaretz
December 24, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s court and the speakers of the Israeli right on Friday levelled insults at outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama, who allowed the UN Security Council to adopt Resolution 2334 against Israeli settlements.

The abuse and rage are unfair. Upon completing his tenure, Obama is worthy of honorary membership in the Yesha Council, the Israeli settlements’ umbrella organization, as well as the Likud Central Committee. His late support for the UN Security Council resolution, a moment before he packs up his bags turns over the keys to the White House to Donald Trump, is typical of his eight-year presidency, during which the U.S. effort to end the Israeli-Arab Conflict met its demise.

Obama assumed the presidency with lofty declarations against the settlements, calling the Israeli-Palestinian peace an “American interest.” But beyond partial steps that achieved nothing and pointless speeches, he didn’t even once use his presidential clout to realize the two-state solution. In his first term, Obama appointed George Mitchell as his special envoy to the Middle East, and forced a temporary settlement construction moratorium on Netanyahu. In his second term, Secretary of State John Kerry was dispatched to take part in futile talks with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. When this effort failed as well, Obama folded, making do with highly publicized rebukes made in response to reports of expanded settlement construction.

Ending the occupation and the conflict are first and foremost an Israeli and Palestinian interest, not an American one. But as a global superpower committed through statements, actions and budgets to Israel’s security and Palestinian independence, the U.S. has responsibility. The hopes and expectations for Obama have been especially big because he represents human rights and concern for the weak. But instead of justifying the Nobel Peace Prize that he was awarded in the beginning of his tenure, Obama has given up on the effort that all his predecessors since 1967 have made to end the conflict, recoiling from political risks.

His farewell gesture at the Security Council doesn’t stray from the pattern that has characterized his policy. Obama only dared to confront Netanyahu from the safety of the presidential transition period, during which actions are free of political considerations. After all, his party lost the election and won’t have to implement the resolution.

President-elect Donald Trump’s administration isn’t bound by any public commitment to the two-state solution or to restraining settlement construction. Figures close to the incoming president, including his designated ambassador to Israel, support the Netanyahu-Bennett government’s annexation policy. Minister Naftali Bennett, the head of the Habayit Hayehudi party, has already declared that the time has come to  promote his initiative to annex Area C in the West Bank, and the Security Council resolution will only encourage the Israeli right to show the UN up and assert more destructive facts on the ground.

This is why Obama’s late political bravery shouldn’t inspire awe. Eight years have been wasted on empty talk while Israel’s rightist government accelerated the settlement and continued to blur the Green Line. Obama promised to end the occupation, but by avoiding political risks and moves that have low chances of success, he laid the cornerstone for a single state.

The UN must not let Resolution 2334 be squandered

December 24, 2016

If UN Security Council Resolution 2334 regarding Israel’s illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is to be worth the paper it’s written on, certain tangible steps must be taken. Failure to act will make it worthless.

First and foremost, there must be a serious review of Israel’s membership of the world body. Ever since it was carved out of the land of Palestine, Israel’s leaders have projected their country as something exceptional and thus entitled to special treatment. Israel is indeed unique; it is the only state in the world that owes its very existence to a UN resolution – 181 (II). Its membership was, however, conditional, and remains so.

Upon admission to the world body, the new entity gave a solemn undertaking to respect the General Assembly Partition Resolution (of Palestine) and the status of Jerusalem contained therein. This included the requirement to allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and land. Israel has repudiated these conditions. The UN is, therefore, well within its rights to suspend Israel from participating in all of its bodies and institutions, as it did with the South African apartheid regime in 1974 and the former Yugoslavia in 1992.

After decades of burying their heads in the sand there is now a growing realisation among Western leaders that Israel’s exceptionalism is actually a destabilising factor, not only the Middle East but increasingly so in the West. Recent intelligence documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had warned in 2008 that “the Israelis remain a real threat to the stability of the region…”

Inevitably, Israeli officials have poured scorn on the latest Security Council resolution. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office described it as “shameful” and vowed not to abide by its terms. Rightfully, the resolution calls for an end to all “settlement activities” on Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, noting that they have “no legal validity.”

Though such contempt for the will of the international community is not something unique to Israel, it is precisely such open defiance of the rule of law which has created the current chaos in the Middle East. Failure to act will only make matters worse. The threat posed by Israel’s intransigence must not be taken lightly. Already, it has announced that it “looks forward to working with president-elect Trump and with all our friends in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution.”

Instead of awaiting this eventuality, the General Assembly must act to suspend Israel from UN bodies. Should this corrective measure fail to bring about the desired compliance, it must then resort to economic, diplomatic and travel sanctions of the kind imposed successfully against the racist South African apartheid regime.

Secondly, on the regional level, the League of Arab States must ensure that the current Egyptian government is never again entrusted with any peace initiative on Palestine, even if this means that the organisation’s headquarters has to be moved from Cairo. It has become patently clear that the current Egyptian government under Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi cannot be entrusted with any leadership role on the Palestine issue. Without the backing of Israel and the US, the coup leaders who toppled the country’s democratically-elected civilian government could not have survived for one week. They are now evidently beholden to the extremist government in Tel Aviv and their ilk; this alone has to be a valid enough reason to question its ability to act independently and resolutely to support the Palestinian people.

Furthermore, instead of acting to protect the legitimate aspirations of the people of Libya, Yemen and Syria, the Egyptian regime has pursued policies that can be described as dubious at best and obstructive at worst. In Palestine, Sisi has allowed Egypt to take a partisan stance, supporting one faction against another instead of promoting a genuine dialogue and reconciliation. Its latest shenanigans at the UN, during which it succumbed to Israeli blackmail, must be the final warning that it is not fit to be entrusted with strategic regional interests.

The manner in which the vote was taken in the Security Council suggests that non-permanent members are ready and willing to uphold the rule of law, even when it means going against the West and its client states in the Middle East.

For the Palestinian people who have long endured Israel’s brutal settler-colonialism, the end of 2016 has thus brought some degree of optimism about the future. It is true that they have been down this path before, witnessing the UN take one step forward at critical moments and then two steps backwards thereafter. Their hope will be that 2017 ushers in a clean break from this pattern of international indecision. For the sake of regional stability and global peace, Resolution 2334 must not be squandered. Israel has defied 28 other Security Council resolutions; this must not be the 29th.

Palestinian UN envoy Riyad H. Mansour greets Spanish envoy Roman Oyarzun Marchesi, president of the Security Council for December, ahead of the December 23, 2016, vote on Israeli settlements. Photo by Manuel Elias, AFP / UN

Hamas welcomes UN vote condemning Israeli settlement building

By Al Araby/ The New Arab
December 24, 2016

Hamas has welcomed a landmark UN Security Council vote demanding a halt to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip said it marked an “important evolution” in international response to Israel’s settlement building programme.

The UN Security Council on Friday demanded that Israel halt settlements in Palestinian territory, after the US refrained from vetoing the resolution condemning its closest Middle East ally.

Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, remains deeply divided from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, which dominates the occupied West Bank.

“Hamas appreciates the position of the countries that voted in the Security Council for the right of the Palestinian people (to live) on their land,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzy Barhoum.

“We salute this important evolution in international positions,” he said, while calling for more such actions to bring about “the end of the occupation.”

Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, but has occupied the West Bank for nearly 50 years.

There have been growing warnings that settlement building in the West Bank is fast eroding the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

While the Palestine Liberation Organisation has recognised Israel’s right to exist, Hamas, which is not part of the PLO, calls for its destruction.

It is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the European Union and the US.

Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars with Israel since 2008, while the enclave has been under an Israeli blockade for around a decade. Its border with Egypt has also remained largely closed.

UN officials have called for the blockade to be lifted, saying conditions are deteriorating in the impoverished territory of two million people.

Israel says it is needed to keep Hamas from importing weapons or materials used to make them.

Islamic Jihad, the second-largest force in Gaza, also welcomed the UN vote, with spokesman Daoud Shehab saying it would lead to Israel’s “isolation” and “boycott” while opening it up to prosecution under international law.

The Security Council resolution

Resolution 2334 (2016) reads as follows:

“The Security Council,

“Reaffirming its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 452 (1979), 465 (1980), 476 (1980), 478 (1980), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003), and 1850 (2008),

“Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,

“Reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice,

“Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions,

“Expressing grave concern that continuing Israeli settlement activities are dangerously imperilling the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines,

“Recalling the obligation under the Quartet Roadmap, endorsed by its resolution 1515 (2003), for a freeze by Israel of all settlement activity, including “natural growth”, and the dismantlement of all settlement outposts erected since March 2001,

“Recalling also the obligation under the Quartet roadmap for the Palestinian Authority Security Forces to maintain effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantling terrorist capabilities, including the confiscation of illegal weapons,

“Condemning all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement and destruction,

“Reiterating its vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders,

“Stressing that the status quo is not sustainable and that significant steps, consistent with the transition contemplated by prior agreements, are urgently needed in order to (i) stabilize the situation and to reverse negative trends on the ground, which are steadily eroding the two-State solution and entrenching a one-State reality, and (ii) to create the conditions for successful final status negotiations and for advancing the two-State solution through those negotiations and on the ground,

“1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;

“2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;

“3. Underlines that it 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;

“4. Stresses that 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 imperilling the two-State solution;

“5. Calls upon all States, bearing in mind paragraph 1 of this resolution, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967;

“6. Calls for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction, calls for accountability in this regard, and calls for compliance with obligations under international law for the strengthening of ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including through existing security coordination, and to clearly condemn all acts of terrorism;

“7. Calls upon both parties to act on the basis of international law, including international humanitarian law, and their previous agreements and obligations, to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, with the aim, inter alia, of de-escalating the situation on the ground, rebuilding trust and confidence, demonstrating through policies and actions a genuine commitment to the two-State solution, and creating the conditions necessary for promoting peace;

“8. Calls upon all parties to continue, in the interest of the promotion of peace and security, to exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final status issues in the Middle East peace process and within the time frame specified by the Quartet in its statement of 21 September 2010;

“9. Urges in this regard the intensification and acceleration of international and regional diplomatic efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap and 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 recent efforts of the Quartet, as well as the efforts of Egypt and the Russian Federation;

“10. Confirms its determination to support the parties throughout the negotiations and in the implementation of an agreement;

“11. Reaffirms its determination to examine practical ways and means to secure the full implementation of its relevant resolutions;

“12. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of the provisions of the present resolution;

“13. Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

Resolution 465 (1980)
Adopted by the Security Council at its 2203rd meeting
on 1 March 1980
The Security Council,

Taking note of the reports of the Commission of the Security Council established under resolution 446 (1979) to examine the situation relating to settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, contained in documents S/13450 and Corr. 1 and S/13679,

Taking note also of letters from the Permanent Representative of Jordan (S/13801) and the Permanent Representative of Morocco, Chairman of the Islamic Group (S/13802),

Strongly deploring the refusal by Israel to co-operate with the Commission and regretting its formal rejection of resolutions 446 (1979) and 452 (1979),

Affirming once more that the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 is applicable to the Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem,

Deploring the decision of the Government of Israel to officially support Israeli settlement in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967,

Deeply concerned over the practices of the Israeli authorities in implementing that settlement policy in the occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem, and its consequences for the local Arab and Palestinian population,

Taking into account the need to consider measures for the impartial protection of private and public land and property, and water resources,

Bearing in mind the specific status of Jerusalem and, in particular, the need for protection and preservation of the unique spiritual and religious dimension of the Holy Places in the city,

Drawing attention to the grave consequences which the settlement policy is bound to have on any attempt to reach a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East,

Recalling pertinent Security Council resolutions, specifically resolutions 237 (1967) of 14 June 1967, 252 (1968) of 21 May 1968, 267 (1969) of 3 July 1969, 271 (1969) of 15 September 1969 and 298 (1971) of 25 September 1971, as well as the consensus statement made by the President of the Security Council on 11 November 1976,

Having invited Mr. Fahd Qawasmeh, Mayor of Al-Khalil (Hebron), in the occupied territory, to supply it with information pursuant to rule 39 of the provisional rules of procedure,

1. Commends the work done by the Commission in preparing the report contained in document S/13679;

2. Accepts the conclusions and recommendations contained in the above-mentioned report of the Commission;

3. Calls upon all parties, particularly the Government of Israel, to co-operate with the Commission;

4. Strongly deplores the decision of Israel to prohibit the free travel of Mayor Fahd Qawasmeh in order to appear before the Security Council, and requests Israel to permit his free travel to the United Nations headquarters for that purpose;

5. Determines that all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East;

6. Strongly deplores the continuation and persistence of Israel in pursuing those policies and practices and calls upon the Government and people of Israel to rescind those measures, to dismantle the existing settlements and in particular to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem;

7. Calls upon all States not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connexion with settlements in the occupied territories;

8. Requests the Commission to continue to examine the situation relating to settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, to investigate the reported serious depletion of natural resources, particularly the water resources, with a view to ensuring the protection of those important natural resources of the territories under occupation, and to keep under close scrutiny the implementation of the present resolution;

9. Requests the Commission to report to the Security Council before 1 September 1980, and decides to convene at the earliest possible date thereafter in order to consider the report and the full implementation of the present resolution.

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