Israel, the U.S., and the UN

(American Interest) Shalom Lipner - Where preceding U.S. administrations had contented themselves with characterizations of settlement construction as a proverbial "obstacle to peace," Obama's rhetorical upgrade questioned the very legality of Israel's policy. The Netanyahu government has responded plausibly that not only is it absurd to deny Jewish communal life in the crucible of Jewish civilization, but also that multiple governments in Jerusalem have uprooted settlements in order to advance reasonable chances for peace. As such, it rejects all arguments that settlement activity serves to negate the possibility of an eventual two-state solution. UN Security Council Resolution 2334 was a poorly conceived misfire. Assuming charitably that those who supported the resolution were concerned only with the cause of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, this feel-good boomerang will likely accomplish the diametric opposite: forcing the former into a defensive crouch and emboldening the latter in their continual efforts to avoid direct negotiation by subcontracting their grievances to the international community. As the Obama Administration finishes out its term and weighs further moves in the Israeli-Palestinian theater - now including Wednesday's address by Secretary of State Kerry - it would be unwise to let frustration or utopian impulses get the better of statecraft. The writer, a nonresident senior fellow of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, recently retired from the government of Israel, where he served at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem from 1990.

2016-12-30 00:00:00

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