The UN Security Council voted late last month to condemn Israel’s efforts to build homes in Palestinian territory.
The United States has veto power and could have prevented the vote from passing. But President Obama decided to abstain, in effect agreeing with the UNSC’s decision.
This was a slap in the face to Israel – a nation with whom we are supposed to be allies.
Obama told “60 Minutes” this weekend that it was indeed his decision to let the vote pass. “I don’t think it caused a major rupture in relations between the United States and Israel,” he said. “If you’re saying that [Israeli] Prime Minister Netanyahu got fired up, he’s been fired up repeatedly during the course of my presidency, around the Iran deal and around our consistent objection to settlements. So that part of it wasn’t new.”
PM Netanyahu was indeed “fired up,” deciding to suspend relations with 12 countries in wake of the vote.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich accused the Obama Administration of “waging war against Israel,” while Netanyahu has called Obama’s actions “shameful.”
Even so, Obama insists that America has “defended them [Israel] consistently in every imaginable way” during his administration, citing “military cooperation” and “intelligence cooperation” as examples.
“Allowing an ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians that could get worse and worse over time is a problem,” he continued. “Settlements contribute. They’re not the sole reason for it, but they’re a contributing factor to the inability to solve that problem.”
Israelis have been trying to settle in Palestinian territory since the early 1990s. Since then, the number of Israeli settlements in West Bank has grown from 100,000 to 400,000. This increase has “gotten so substantial,” said Obama, that it inhibits the “effective, contiguous Palestinian state.”
And then he really rubbed it in:
“Because of our investment in the region, and because we care so deeply about Israel, I think (the US) has a legitimate interest in saying to a friend, ‘This is a problem.’ It would have long-term consequences for peace and security in the region, and the United States.”
Meanwhile, Donald Trump and PM Netanyahu seem to be looking forward to working with each other. “President-elect Trump must prepare a comprehensive offensive…to undo the damage to Israel the Obama team is inflicting,” said Gingrich.
Netanyahu has referred to Trump as a “friend,” and the president-elect has promised to help negotiate peace despite the UNSC’s decision.
Editor’s note: Obama has made life miserable for the Israelis for eight years. With the Iraq withdrawal and the advent of ISIS, the Arab Spring, the Iran deal, and Hillary’s work in Libya, the whole region is less stable. With an “ally” like Obama, Israel is lucky to be still standing.