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Obama to support a UNSC resolution on Palestine - the day after the election

(1) Obama to support a UNSC resolution on Palestine - the day after the election
(2) Obama's November surprise: he won't veto UNSC resolution on Palestine, after the election
(3) At AIPAC instigation, 88 senators urge Obama to veto UN resolution on Palestine
(4) Paris summit calls for international conference on Palestine by year’s end

(1) Obama to support a UNSC resolution on Palestine - the day after the election

Obama and Israel: It ain’t over till it’s over

In his meeting with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in
New York Sept. 25, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu managed to get out
of her what he failed to extract from the serving president, Barack
Obama. He got her to promise that she would oppose any attempt by
"external forces" to force a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict, including any resolution by the United Nations Security Council.

Those close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fear that if
Donald Trump wins the elections, President Barack Obama will use the
time left before the end of his term to launch a diplomatic initiative
on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Author Ben Caspit

Posted September 26, 2016 Translator Danny Wool

That was the sole purpose of their meeting, at least as far as Netanyahu
was concerned. His feelings about Clinton are well-known. He would do
anything to make sure that she doesn’t get to the White House. Since it
really isn’t up to him, however, the prime minister took advantage of
this sensitive time, right before the first televised debated between
Clinton and Donald Trump, to use the Democratic candidate to keep Obama
in check, as Obama continues to debate about what to do about the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict before he leaves the White House.

Concern in Jerusalem grew considerably after Netanyahu’s most recent
meeting with Obama Sept. 21 in New York. In what can only be considered
unusual, the meeting did not include an intimate, closed-door session
involving just the two leaders, as is customary in meetings of this
sort. In interviews after the event, Netanyahu confirmed that the issue
of a possible presidential initiative during Obama’s final weeks in
office did not come up in their meeting.

The person most responsible for increasing Israeli paranoia is
long-serving US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro. In an interview with
Channel 10 after the meeting, he tossed around rather explicit hints
about the options now facing the president. He said that the question
that Obama is asking himself now is what the United States can
contribute to preserve the two-state solution as a realistic objective,
which the next administration might be able to achieve. Shapiro then
added that the question — about which no decision has been made yet — is
whether an initiative in the UN or some other international forum could
contribute to the effort, which would continue under the next
administration. The ambassador stressed that the Obama administration
will certainly not support any decision that goes against Israel.

After many long months of leaks, speculations and rumors, this was the
first time that a senior US official close to Obama confirmed on record
that the president is considering giving his support to a diplomatic
initiative regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the UN Security
Council. The Israeli assessment that Obama will "chicken out" at the
last minute and make do with a presidential "parameters" speech, just
like President Bill Clinton did in 2000, was suddenly dealt an
unexpected blow. Indeed, in response to Al-Monitor’s request, the White
House had no comment on the ambassador’s interview with Channel 10, but
Clinton’s statement managed to mitigate some of Jerusalem’s paranoia. On
the other hand, "It’s not over till it’s over," one senior Israeli
official in Jerusalem told Al-Monitor Sept. 26 on condition of
anonymity. "Obama could well be playing with us and wants us to be kept
in suspense until his very last moment in office."

Shapiro’s comments correspond well with remarks by US Secretary of State
John Kerry at a closed-door meeting with the donor nations to the
Palestinians on Sept. 19. According to a report in Haaretz, Kerry was
very critical of Israel’s policies in the occupied territories, saying
that Israel and the Palestinians are headed in the direction of a single
state and war. He then added that if the international community really
wants to stop this trend of unsustainable status quo, "either we mean it
and we act on it, or we should shut up."

Despite the Israeli assessment that Kerry was referring to steps on the
ground, rather than some diplomatic initiative, his comments testify to
the mood in the White House surrounding Obama. The president is about to
decide whether to initiate a diplomatic process through the Security
Council, to coordinate such an initiative with the French or give up and
let the Palestinians and Israelis continue to squabble.

As of now, Jerusalem believes that Obama will make his decision on the
day after the US election, once the whole world knows which candidate is
about to enter the White House. "If Trump is elected, Obama will feel
free to do what he wants and follow his heart and gut," one senior
Israeli diplomatic source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. "In
that case, chances are good that the president will go all the way to
block and trap Trump, creating a new reality in the diplomatic arena,
which will make it difficult for Israel to continue its current
policies." The big question is what Obama will do if Clinton is elected.
"In that case," the same Israeli source said, "the question will be to
what degree Obama wants to coordinate with Clinton."

One US source close to the administration, who asked to remain
anonymous, believes that Obama will coordinate all his moves with
Clinton. Yet even this assessment fails to solve the equation, since the
real question is what Clinton wants. Would she prefer to have Obama
leave the work to her or would she rather that he do all the heavy
lifting, make it easier for her to pressure Israel innocently, saying
that the constraints were dictated by the previous administration.

People surrounding Netanyahu are concerned that Clinton will signal to
Obama with a wink that he should go for broke by initiating a Security
Council resolution, which would shorten the whole process of dealing
with Netanyahu on the day after. Thus, she will be free of any pressure
by the Jewish lobby, headed by the American Israel Public Affairs
Committee, since the president before her initiated the move. This is
Netanyahu’s nightmare scenario, which was alleviated, at least in part,
after his meeting with Clinton Sept. 25.

Netanyahu is caught in an amusing conflict of interests.

On one hand, it is obvious that he would prefer to see Trump win the
election. The meeting he had with Trump at his home in New York lasted
almost twice as long as his meeting with Clinton (close to 11?2 hours
with the Republican candidate, compared to just 50 minutes with the
Democratic candidate). The two men were more intimate; they both
remember well the video clip in support of Netanyahu that Trump released
before the 2013 Israeli election.

Right now, Netanyahu would love to release a similar clip in support of
the Republican candidate, but he can’t. He would love to release it even
though no one has any idea what a Trump presidency would be like in
terms of Israel.

On the other hand, Netanyahu knows that a Trump victory would only push
Obama closer to a UN Security Council resolution and a diplomatic
catastrophe for his own policy. Luckily for him, Netanyahu is not the
one who needs to choose between the two options. That’s the role of the
American voter.

(2) Obama's November surprise: he won't veto UNSC resolution on Palestine, after the election


  06/06/2016 22:05

Obama’s November surprise for Israel?

Word is going around in diplomatic circles that the Obama administration
is planning a November surprise for Israel. Here’s what is said to be
going on.

The Paris peace conference last week, to which Israel and the
Palestinians were not even invited, will end up exerting enormous
pressure on Israel to create a Palestinian state. This renewed pressure
will come despite evidence that a Palestinian state in the West Bank
will quickly be dominated by genocidal Hamas, which is a threat to
Israel and a disaster for the Palestinians. This will lead, in all
likelihood, to a United Nations Security Council Resolution either
condemning Israel for not creating that state or for not withdrawing
from Judea and Samaria in the West Bank, despite the fact that doing so
would irreversibly compromise Israel’s security.

Now, here is where it gets interesting. Israeli officials and Jewish
communal leaders have told me that they expect that the Obama
administration will not veto the resolution at the UNSC. Samantha Power,
the US ambassador to the UN, will not exercise the American veto.

This would mean that the resolution/condemnation goes through. President
Barack Obama will not worry about how this might affect Hillary
Clinton’s election prospects because the UN resolution will come after
the November election.

And that’s how the Obama administration will wrap up – with a UN vote
against Israel and the United States, for almost the first time, not
vetoing a harmful resolution against Israel. Israel will be powerless to
stop it.

What gives credence to this speculation first and foremost is the Paris
conference itself. If it were a serious conference about the prospects
for peace, why on earth were the Israelis and Palestinians not invited?
Israel has insisted on direct, bilateral talks without preconditions.

The Paris talks therefore seem to be a complete waste of time, unless
their purpose was to lead to a resolution at the UN regardless of
Israeli objections.

What further gives this credence is the fact that last June, in a House
Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Powers would not commit to exercising
an American veto at the UN for a resolution condemning Israel.

"I really am going to resist making blanket declarations on hypothetical
resolutions. Our position, again, I think has been very clear for some
time. I have said, again, we would oppose anything that was designed to
punish Israel or undermine Israel’s security. But I think, again, it’s
perilous. There’s no resolution in front of us."

Now, if a Security Council resolution authorizing a timetable for the
unilateral creation of a Palestinian state is resisted by Israel and not
vetoed by the US, there exists the possibility of economic sanctions
being levied against the Jewish state, especially by the European Union.

This is far more serious than the boycott movement, which essentially
involves non-binding student council resolutions against the Jewish state.

Don’t get me wrong. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement
undeniably anti-Semitic, must be fought and resisted. It delegitimizes
Israel on campus, demonizes Israel and Jews, creates a spirit of
intimidation against Jewish students on campus, and often whitewashes
organizations that advocate violence and terrorism.

Still, actual economic sanctions imposed by governments is even more

At her Senate confirmation hearings, which I attended at Powers’
invitation, she promised that at the UN "I will stand up for Israel and
work tirelessly to defend it."

At the AIPAC Annual Policy Conference in Washington, DC, last March,
Samantha avowed, "It is a false choice to tell Israel that it has to
choose between peace on the one hand, and security on the other. The
United Nations would not ask any other country to make that choice, and
it should not ask it of Israel."

Security is the foundation of any sustainable peace framework in the
Middle East. The US has long stood for justice and served as an
essential check against overreach, anti-Semitism and double standards by
Arab and European nations at the UN against Israel.

The Palestinian Authority leadership has repeatedly proven itself
incapable of adhering to basic democratic principles, transparency and
rule of law. The PA’s history of graft, support of terrorism and lack of
accountability is staggering.

Long before Powers became ambassador, she was a highly-regarded academic
studying human rights at Harvard’s Kennedy School. It was there that she
wrote the Pulitzer-winning book that launched her career into orbit, A
Problem from Hell, the stirring and essential indictment of the
inability of the US to act against genocide over the past 100 years. It
remains one of the most important books I have ever read.

But as her star rose in the Obama administration, many began paying
attention to other early statements and writing, including specific ones
that raised concerns about her attitude toward Israel and understanding
of the conflict. These might have gone unnoticed for any ordinary
academic speaking loosely early in her career, but Samantha was no
ordinary academic. Due to those earlier statements, Samantha wasn’t
implicitly trusted by members of the Jewish community when she took her
role in the National Security Council. After writing an op-ed where I
encouraged her to clarify her statements, she did just that.

We met in the White House, and spoke candidly – and even quite
emotionally – about Israel, the challenges in the region, and the real
concerns that some had about her earlier statements. Her passion and
support of Israel was persuasive. I became intent on transforming the
Jewish community’s opinion of her, working side-by-side to persuade
others that she was someone whose judgment and understanding of the
conflict could be trusted when it came to issues related to Israel.

Ultimately, when the time came for her nomination to serve as US
ambassador to the UN, the Jewish American community registered strong,
widespread support.

Now, with the possibility of a serious anti-Israel resolution making its
way through the UN with the potential to do long-term harm to the Jewish
state, Samantha will be confronted with the stark choice of standing
firm and acting on her commitment to Israel and the Jewish community and
her loyalty to the president and his administration in its last days.

With anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment growing worldwide, we rely
on Powers to not only honor her pledge of support for the Jewish state
but to stand squarely against Hamas and its genocidal pledge, stated
clearly in its covenant, to annihilate the Jewish people wherever they
may be found.

I am confident the Samantha Power I know will stand with Israel. Her
legacy and the security of the Jewish state depends on it.

The author, whom The Washington Post calls "the most famous rabbi in
America," is the founder of The World Values Network and is the
international best-selling author of 30 books, including his
just-published, The Israel Warrior: Fighting Back for the Jewish State
from Campus to Street Corner. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

(3) At AIPAC instigation, 88 senators urge Obama to veto UN resolution on Palestine

88 senators urge Obama to uphold veto on ‘one-sided’ UN resolutions

In bipartisan letter, lawmakers say ‘even well-intentioned initiatives’
on Israel can hinder progress, call on president to remain ‘trusted


September 20, 2016, 6:54 am

On the eve of a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama in New York Tuesday, 88 US
senators penned a letter to the commander-in-chief urging him to uphold
for the duration of his term the US policy of opposing "one-sided"
United Nations resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and
vetoing them where necessary.

In their missive commended by the American-Israel Public Affairs
Committee (AIPAC) Monday, the senators say that while they are
disappointed that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are stalled, the only
way to resolve the conflict is through "direct negotiations that lead to
a sustainable two-state solution," echoing a stance held by Netanyahu

The letter was initiated by Michael Rounds, a Republican from South
Dakota, and New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand, a Democrat.

In it, the signatories — among them Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice
presidential nominee — argued that the US must remain "an indispensable
trusted mediator" between Israelis and Palestinians, and that the
international community should "avoid taking action that would harm the
prospects for meaningful progress."

"Even well-intentioned initiatives at the United Nations risk locking
the parties into positions that will make it more difficult to return to
the negotiating table and make the compromises necessary for peace," the
senators wrote adding that the US "must continue to insist that neither
we nor any other outsider substitute for the parties to the conflict."

Quoting from a 2011 address Obama gave to the General Assembly in which
he said that "peace will not come through statements and resolutions at
the United Nations," the senators reminded the US president that his
"administration has consistently upheld the longstanding US policy of
opposing — and if necessary vetoing — one-sided UN Security Council
(UNSC) resolutions."

The letter came amid concerns and reports that Obama would consider
letting the Security Council vote in a resolution deemed unfavorable to
Israel, without using the US veto, at some point before he leaves office
in January.

On Sunday, a former top US official said that a looming Donald Trump
presidency would make it more likely for Obama to support a resolution
laying down the basic parameters for the creation of Palestinian state.

"I suspect that if Trump wins, the president would be more inclined to
go for a Security Council resolution to try to do something that binds,
creates standards for the future that the next president couldn’t undo,"
Dennis Ross said at a conference on the future of Zionism and the
US-Israel relationship. "If Clinton wins, I suspect he [Obama] would be
more sensitive to her concerns as to whether this helps or hurt her."

Ross, who worked on Israeli-Palestinian issues for decades, including a
two-year stint as special assistant to Obama and a year as special
adviser to Hillary Clinton, said that the current president "would like
to do something, leave some kind of legacy."

In April, 394 House Republicans and Democrats — more than 90 percent of
the 435 representatives — sent a letter to Obama urging him to reject
any actions by the UN that are biased against Israel. The letter was
sent amid reports at the time that the Palestinian Authority would
revive a draft resolution against Israel’s policies in the West Bank,
similar to the one vetoed in 2011 at the Security Council by the United

(4) Paris summit calls for international conference on Palestine by year’s end

French FM: 'We have chosen to extend a hand to the Israelis and the
Palestinians. We hope that they accept it'

Paris summit ends with vague call for international conference by year’s end

Participants warn time is running out on two-state solution, blame
violence and settlement activity, but don’t set timeline for progress


A one-day Israeli-Palestinian peace summit in Paris — to which the
Israelis and Palestinians were not invited — concluded Friday with a
warning that violence and settlement activity are imperiling a two-state
solution, and a call for an international conference on the issue before
the end of the year.

"We must act, urgently, to preserve the two-state solution, revive it
before it is too late," French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said
after the meeting.

The closing communique did not set a firm timetable for further efforts,
however. And while France portrayed Friday’s meeting as a first step by
the international community to weigh different options, the Americans
have been chilly towards the talks, although Secretary of State John
Kerry attended, and Israel has flatly opposed to French efforts, calling
instead on the Palestinians to enter direct peace talks without conditions.

The closing communique was less harsh toward Israel than members of the
Arab League had sought, and its general emphasis on the two-state
solution represented a compromise in which the United States and the
European Union tempered an effort by the Arab League to make a statement
that was more critical of Israel’s policies, Western diplomats told Haaretz.

"We have chosen to extend a hand to the Israelis and the Palestinians.
We hope that they accept it," Ayrault said. He warned that a solution
which would see Israelis and Palestinians living side by side was
"getting further away each day."

Israel quickly dismissed the gathering as a "missed opportunity,"
claiming its participants had caved to Palestinian demands. The
Palestinians, by contrast, welcomed what they called a "significant
step" against Israel’s "apartheid policies in occupied Palestine."

In their closing communique, the more than two dozen participating
nations reaffirmed that "a negotiated two-state solution is the only way
to achieve an enduring peace, with two states, Israel and Palestine,
living side by side in peace and security." They expressed alarm that
"actions on the ground, in particular continued acts of violence and
ongoing settlement activity, are dangerously imperiling the prospects
for a two-state solution."

Calling for an end to the "Israeli occupation that begin in 1967," the
participants said they had "discussed possible ways in which the
international community could help advance the prospects for peace,
including by providing meaningful incentives" and "highlighted the
potential for regional peace and security as envisioned by the Arab
Peace Initiative."

EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini stressed that the aim of the
summit was not to impose terms, but rather to create conditions in which
substantive negotiations could resume. "The policy of settlement
expansion and demolitions, violence, and incitement tells us very
clearly that the perspective that Oslo opened up is seriously at risk of
fading away," she told reporters.

The closing communique also highlighted the key role of the Quartet and
key regional stakeholders. "They welcomed the interested countries’
offer to contribute to this effort. They also welcomed France’s offer to
coordinate it, and the prospect of convening before the end of the year
an international conference."

The foreign ministers of the United States, European nations, and
several Arab states were among those attending the meeting. No Israeli
or Palestinian officials were invited.

French President Francois Hollande kicked off the summit by calling on
both sides to make the "courageous choice" to advance peace. "This
initiative has only one goal, peace in Middle East. It was desirable and
became necessary," Hollande said at the opening session of the
conference. "We can’t take the place of the parties," he said,
acknowledging the absence of both Israeli and Palestinian officials. "We
can only make sure that peace will be solid, lasting and internationally

Ahead of the summit, an internal document sent by the French Foreign
Ministry to participating nations had anticipated that "ministers will
agree on the principle that a clear timetable will need to be
established for the negotiations when they restart, and that some
interim review might be necessary to gauge the seriousness of the process."

The head of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, said Thursday that the
French initiative was "doomed to failure."

Israel has been adamant in its utter rejection of the French initiative,
arguing that only bilateral talks can lead to progress. Israel’s Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he seeks a two-state solution, with a
demilitarized Palestine that recognize Israel as the Jewish state.

Netanyahu’s office on Friday doubled down on its criticism of the
summit, asserting that it was bound to fail. "We need direct
negotiations, and for that we don’t need to go as far as Paris," an
official from the Prime Minister’s Office told Army Radio just a few
hours before the conference kicked off.

Israel’s Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said what was happening
in Paris was "surreal," since it was entirely unrealistic to believe
that anything said or done there could change things for the better on
the ground. The only way to solve the conflict was via direct talks, but
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas "has been boycotting
Israel for the past seven years," said Erdan, and has decided to spend
"the remainder of his days trying to damage Israel internationally."

"The way to peace does not go through international conferences that
seek to impose agreements, make the Palestinians’ demands more extreme
and thereby make peace more remote," Netanyahu said Wednesday. "The way
to peace is via direct negotiations without preconditions between the
sides. This is how peace was achieved in the past with Egypt and Jordan
and this is what needs to be with the Palestinians."

If the countries gathering in Paris really wanted to promote peace, they
should urge Abbas to enter direct bilateral talks with Israel, Netanyahu
added. "This is the way to peace — there is no other."

Kerry "looks forward to being a participant" in the conference, State
Department spokesperson John Kirby had said Wednesday. America’s top
diplomat is "not going to turn up his nose at any good ideas that could
get us closer to seeing a two-state solution in place.

Kerry remains keenly interested in the Middle East peace process and
will "talk to anybody that might be able to come up with viable
alternatives and solutions to get us there," Kirby added. "Ultimately,
though, it’s going to take leadership there on all sides to take the
kinds of affirmative steps that are necessary to ease the tensions and
to get us closer to a two-state solution. It has to start there."

Peter Myers