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Backlash from Obama’s Abstention

“The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the U.N., it colluded with it behind the scenes,” Netanyahu said in a statement, according to Reuters. “Israel 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,” Netanyahu said.

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said that Israel should annex the “settlement blocks” in response to the UN Security Council’s approval of the resolution. “We need to act to cut off all our funding to the UN. We should announce the immediate annexation of the settlement blocs. This would be a crushing reply to Abbas who goes and incites and avoids any negotiations. We must resume construction in all parts of the land,” added Erdan.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz from Texas called on the U.S. to withhold funding to the UN, until  it reverses its resolution condemning Israeli presence in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina announced he was in favor of a measure to revoke U.S. funding for the UN unless the UN Security Council repeals the resolution it passed condemning Israeli settlements. “It's that important to me,” Graham told CNN. “This is a road we haven't gone down before. If you can't show the American people that international organizations can be more responsible, there is going to be a break. And I am going to lead that break.” “I will do everything in my power, working with the new administration and Congress, to leave no doubt about where America stands when it comes to the peace process and where we stand with the only true democracy in the Middle East, Israel,” Graham added.

It should be noted that American funding accounts for 22% of the UN's budget. So such a measure will hurt the UN. Trump himself has questioned America’s huge support for the UN so this measure may bear fruit.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan from Wisconsin said the decision to abstain in the UN Security Council vote was “absolutely shameful”. “Today's vote is a blow to peace that sets a dangerous precedent for further diplomatic efforts to isolate and demonize Israel. Our unified Republican government will work to reverse the damage done by this administration, and rebuild our alliance with Israel”.

Republican Senator John McCain from Arizona said Obama's abstention “has made us complicit in this outrageous attack and emboldens Israel's enemies.”

But there was also opposition from the Democrats.
Sen. Charles Schumer strongly urged the White House to veto the resolution saying: “Whatever one’s views are on settlements, anyone who cares about the future of Israel and peace in the region knows that the UN, with its onesidedness, is exactly the wrong forum to bring about peace… It is extremely frustrating, disappointing and confounding that the administration has failed to veto this resolution.”

Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East peace negotiator and advisor to both Democratic and Republican presidents, said that the U.S. supporting the resolution plunges the administration into an issue that the past several administrations had avoided: the legality of the settlements. “The problem with voting for this,” Mr. Miller said, “is that Trump will disavow it and U.S. credibility on the issue will again be undermined, not to mention what the Israelis might do on the ground in response, to which the new administration may acquiesce.”

Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said: “This was a stab in the back against the Israelis, it was entirely predictable for people in the pro-Israel community in the United States….we should've seen this coming and this is what you get for supporting Barack Obama. I really think this was an effort to box the incoming Trump administration in, and it violates nearly 50 years of bipartisan policy in the United States.”

Predictably, J Street, the  supposedly Jewish Anti-Israel lobby 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.”

Naturally, the Hamas, praised the decision: “We praise the countries that voted for the resolution,” said Hazem Kassem, Hamas spokesman. “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.”

Hamas is still officially a terrorist organization. But if it shares the same mindset as the UN Security Council, a major cleanup of the council and the UN is long overdue.
 
 
 

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