By TAMARA ZIEVE \12/24/2016
Key US Jewish organizations swiftly spoke out against their country’s decision to abstain on a UN Security Council resolution adopted Friday, which condemns Israeli settlement activity as illegal.
Both the AJC and the Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA) said they were “deeply disappointed” by the move which allowed the passing of a resolution which they slammed as being anti-Israel and biased.
“The Administration’s decision, for the first time in eight years, not to block an anti-Israel measure at the UN Security Council is profoundly disturbing,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “It only encourages diplomatic end-runs and diversionary tactics, which hinder rather than advance the prospects for peace.”
“Moreover, this measure repeats the Palestinian falsehood that Israeli settlements constitute the core of the conflict,” said Harris. “Let’s be clear: The chief obstacle to achieving peace is, and long has been, the steadfast refusal of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel’s legitimacy and negotiate in earnest a comprehensive agreement. Security Council members that supported the resolution are not helping the cause of peace by their failure to hold the Palestinians accountable for their chronic short-sightedness and inaction.”
“Encouraging the misguided Palestinian strategy of doing everything possible to avoid Israel, while accumulating hostile statements against Israel at the UN and other international organizations, has been counterproductive to achieving a sustainable peace that will benefit both Israelis and Palestinians,” Harris added. “Isn’t it high time to face reality? Enduring peace accords with Egypt and Jordan came about because of direct talks with Israel. The same could be true with the Palestinians, if only they finally learned the lessons of those talks.”
“It is tragic that the Administration chose to mar its legacy of support for the Jewish State and set back the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace,” said the JFNA.
Both the JFNA and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) recalled UN Ambassador Samantha Power’s statement in 2014, when the US vetoed and voted against a similar resolution, that “peace will come from hard choices and compromises that must be made at the negotiating table.”
“Today, on the eve of a new US administration, is not the time to change the course of a consistent US policy in the UN Security Council,” the JCRC said in a statement. “It is a time to reiterate and emphasize the approach that has preserved the possibility for the parties themselves to directly tackle the issues that will lead to a comprehensive agreement ending the conflict.”
The Anti-Defamation League too said it was “outraged” by the US decision not use its veto power, citing similar concerns that the “biased and unconstructive” resolution would further complicate peace efforts.
“We know that Israeli settlement activity is of concern to the US and many members of the international community and are pleased that Ambassador Samantha Power recognized the centrality of other issues obstructing the peace process, including Palestinian incitement and a complete unwillingness to engage in bilateral negotiations. However, we are incredibly disappointed that the US still chose not to exercise its veto power and stop this resolution at the Security Council,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.
Recalling multiple statements made by the Obama Administration in the past that a solution to the conflict cannot be imposed on the parties but must be achieved by direct negotiation between the parties, Greenblatt found it “deeply troubling that this biased resolution appears to be the final word of the Administration on this issue.”