Trump Just Undermined Obama’s Last Ditch Push For Mideast Peace – And Things Quickly Got Ugly

Trump undermines obama administration at behest of israel

In an unprecedented move that flies in the face of traditional decorum for Presidents Elect, Donald Trump has directly undermined the Obama Administration in foreign policy.

Hours before the United Nations Security Council was prepared to vote on a draft resolution proposed by Egypt Wednesday which demands that Israel:

“immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem”.

According to Reuters, the Obama Administration intended to allow the U.N. Security Council to approve the resolution, rather than blocking it with a U.S. veto, which would have marked a major reversal of position by the United States – which has traditionally used it’s power to veto in the UN as a permanent member of the Security Council to block such votes. As ABC reports, Israel has expressed concern that President Obama would allow such a resolution, as a last ditch effort to affect the peace process after 8 years of stalled progress.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – in a stunning breach of international protocol – reached out to the U.S. President Elect urging him to intervene.

Trump then called Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, as reported by the BBC, and Egypt then withdrew the resolution hours before it was set to come to a vote. In a statement the Egyptian President’s office said that the resolution was withdrawn due to “the importance of giving a chance for the new American administration to deal in a comprehensive way with the different aspects of the Palestinian issue.”

Breaking with all protocol, Trump himself issued a statement on Thursday. Ignoring the fact that the United States has had a longstanding tradition of respect to the sitting administration, especially regarding foreign policy, Trump waded into the issue, calling on the Obama Administration to veto the resolution, saying:

“The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed. As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations. This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately reacted and tweeted

Israel’s West Bank settlements are illegal under International Law, and seen by many, including the UN, as one of the main obstacles to all peace efforts, as well as any possible solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

The Obama administration has opposed further building of settlements by Israel, and the move to allow a resolution against more settlements was one the outgoing administration was expected to make in it’s final months. Hence the Egyptian resolution (which is similar to efforts which have failed before) had once again sparked a bit of hope for the Palestinian cause.

Obama, Kerry Blasted By Israeli OFFICIAL

In the wake of the President Elect’s unprecedented premature meddling in foreign affairs, an emboldened Israeli official (who is as yet unnamed) blasted outgoing President Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry, saying that the two U.S. leaders “are behind this shameful move against Israel at the U.N.,” claiming that “the U.S administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti-Israeli resolution behind Israel’s back which would be a tail wind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory.” The official further denounced the measure requiring Israel to obey International Law “an abandonment of Israel which breaks decades of US policy of protecting Israel at the UN.”

 

Security Council Member Nations Back Obama

In the latest twist in the developing story, 4 nations which sit on the United Nations Security Council are now explicitly backing the Obama Administration’s tacit position to allow the anti-settlement resolution.

New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal, and Venezuela have set a deadline for Egypt, demanding the reintroduction of the resolution, and warning in a note that:

“In the event that Egypt decides that it cannot proceed to call for vote on 23 December or does not provide a response by the deadline, those delegations reserve the right to table the draft … and proceed to put it to vote ASAP,”

The four non-permanent members of the Security Council also stated in their note that they sought to free the Cairo government of bearing the burden of the Palestinian resolution alone, saying:

“The proposal for other delegations to take the lead… would also help Egypt by relieving it of the burden of carrying this draft alone,”

To be adopted, the resolution would need nine votes in favor, and to avoid a veto by the U.S., France, Russia, Britain or China. Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, as many others UN diplomats, believes President Obama is still the key figure in pushing for the resolution before Trump takes position. As he stated,

“The Israeli government is violating international law, by doing so it is undermining the whole status of Israel. If there is somebody to be blamed, it is the Israeli government… I do hope that President Obama will listen to us and at least allow this resolution to pass. He has failed us in the past. He promised he would ask Israel to stop settlement activities and he failed to do so for eight years.”

The vote was scheduled to take place at 3pm (20:00 GMT) on Thursday. At this point, another failure in this resolution now that Obama’s administration is about to finish, and President Elect Trump has indicated he does not support the two state solution long sought by the US, may lead to the end of any possibility of such a solution, and indeed of any peaceful solution to the Israeli/Palestinian crisis.

Featured image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News

From Mexico City, Carolina has lived in five different countries, experiences she defines as the most enriching. She has focused her studies and work on international conflicts and international security issues, diplomacy and protocol. Carolina holds two MA degrees and hopes to begin her PhD studies soon.