The title of my blog today is a sign that was paraded through downtown Ramallah yesterday after the United States vetoed the Palestinian resolution to label Jewish construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank as “illegal.” Israel is always falsely condemned by the world as being racist–but the world says nothing when the real racism of Palestinians comes to the fore. As to the vote itself, I had written in my Thursday blog that the question was whether Obama would veto the resolution or vote with the “idiots.” The U.S. did not vote with the idiots–and there were a lot of them (the 14 other members of the Security Council and the 120+ countries that supported the resolution).
And Obama did it for the right reason though U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice’s tortured statement in explanation was abundant in mis-statements and pandering to the Arab world. Her comments: “Our opposition to the resolution before this Council today should therefore not be misunderstood to mean we support settlement activity. On the contrary, we reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. . . Continued settlement activity violates Israel’s international commitments, devastates trust between the parties, and threatens the prospects for peace. . . While we agree with our fellow Council members–and indeed, with the wider world–about the folly and illegitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, we think it unwise for this Council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians. We therefore regrettably have opposed this draft resolution.”
Rice was correct in saying that the core issues have to be resolved by Israelis and Palestinians negotiating face to face. Nevertheless, housing construction that continues in areas that will be part of Israel in any final settlement is not folly, not illegitimate, and most assuredly not illegal. But again, the bottom line is that the U.S. supported Israel in a tough situation–and coming from someone who has criticized Obama on many occasions– I thank him and the United States for that.