Ynet reports that among the bullying tactics the U.S. used in a vain attempt to force the PA to withdraw the UN Security Council resolution opposing Israeli settlements, Hillary Clinton threatened to halt U.S. aid. Now how stupid can you get? The U.S. already looks lame through the role it’s played as outlined by the Palestine Papers in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. We dissed the Palestinians every chance we got. We spoke ill of them behind their backs. We stiffed them on issues that were crucial to their interests. We all but threw in our lot with Israel.
And now Hillary thinks she’s going to withdraw the only leverage the U.S. has with the Palestinians? Who does she think she’s kidding? This actually sounds like something cooked up in Dennis Ross’ kitchen. I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your Palestinian homeland down.
What’s ridiculous about this is that the Palestinians call our bluff and refuse to withdraw the resolution. Are we going to follow through on our threat? No. Will any Palestinian leader believe anything she says to them in future? Will she have any credibility with them? Hillary, you might as well resign now and go to work as an Aipac lobbyist. You’re not advancing the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace. We know it, Palestinians know it.
We’re doing Israel no favors either. Ynetnews notes the worries of Israeli officials that the solid European support for the Security Council resolution, even in the face of the U.S. veto, indicates a further distancing of Europe from Israel. They’re even using the B (boycott) word:
State officials warn of political isolation following European nations’ support of Palestinian bid to condemn settlement construction in Security Council. ‘Every tender for settlement construction distances us from Europe. Some countries boycott Israeli goods and things can deteriorate,’ one official says.
State officials said Saturday that the US veto which prevented a UN condemnation of settlement construction is not a reason for celebrations. “Israel is becoming increasingly isolated from West European countries which consider settlements a red rag [?],” one element said. The senior officials said they do not rule out financial consequences as a result of Israel’s isolation.
These sentiments sound far too reasonable to emanate from Likud or Kadima officials, so I’m guessing these are the sentiments of Ehud Barak. Which still makes them worth considering. Even Barak or whoever said this recognizes the handwriting on the wall. The veto hasn’t helped Israel. It has only increased its international isolation and advanced the cause of BDS worldwide.
Haaretz brings word that the PA plans its own “Day of Rage” protesting the U.S. veto of the settlement resolution. Though I find it dubious that a non-elected rump government like the PA would attempt to organize a popular protest aping the raging Middle East revolutions, the U.S. has it coming. We abandoned our own principles and policies in vetoing this resolution. We did it for Israel. And we did it at the most inopportune moment when dictatorial regimes are falling like dominoes around the Middle East. Once again we sided with the strong man (Israel) and against justice. Once again U.S. policy was shown to be tone-deaf.
What does this veto gain us? Scoring a few points with Israel? Consoling them after they lost their Egyptian stuffy toy leader? Is that what U.S. policy has come to? What about staking out vigorous, bold positions that advance our interests and those of the region, even if they run contrary to Israel’s political elite?
The U.S. and the Obama administration is now just phoning in its Mideast policy. There’s no “there there.” No long-term vision. No strategy. Nuthin’. God help me, I’m even getting a little nostalgic for Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon. At least they knew how to lay out a strategy and achieve it.