On Israel, a Resolution to Repudiate

(Investor's Business Daily) Abraham D. Sofaer - On Dec. 23, 2016, the U.S. abstained and allowed the Security Council to adopt Resolution 2334 demanding that Israel stop all settlement activity. This resolution provides legal authority under Chapter VI of the UN Charter for the Security Council or individual states to take Israel to the International Court of Justice, and sets the basis for the Council to enforce its commands by imposing sanctions under Chapter VII - including even the use of force. The resolution will be invoked by states, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and every anti-Israel public and private group in the world to justify lawsuits, boycotts, trade restrictions and outright acts of terror. Mr. Trump will hear from diplomats and foreign ambassadors that he cannot undo a Security Council resolution. That is nonsense. He can, as president, repudiate any international agreement. A vehicle for President Trump's action in this regard is operative paragraph 12, requesting the Secretary-General to report to the Council "every three months on the implementation of the provisions of the present resolution." President Trump should inform the Secretary-General before his first report on March 23, 2017, that the U.S. repudiates Resolution 2334 - that the U.S. will veto any effort to enforce its conclusions. He should also seek legislation imposing trade sanctions on states that rely on the resolution to discriminate against Israel, as the U.S. did successfully against the Arab boycott. The Obama administration has preached about what it insists must be done regardless of what is possible in light of Palestinian hostility and the fact that Gaza is in terrorist hands. President Reagan regarded the settlements as "legal," and most other presidents have refrained from such ineffective hectoring. Mr. Obama also ignored the Bush letter of April 14, 2004, that recognized Israeli control of the major Jerusalem settlements as the likely outcome. The abstention, in short, was a shameful act openly touted as punishment for Israel's failure to abide by a U.S. policy that set back the prospects of peace. The Trump administration must repudiate Resolution 2334 in order to preserve the possibility of a two-state solution, by recognizing that Israel's settlements are not an obstacle to peace if peace were genuinely pursued. The writer, the George P. Shultz Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, served as legal advisor to the State Department from 1985 to 1990.

2017-01-02 00:00:00

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