Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome. .
(photo credit: PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE)
In the next few days, the United Nations Security Council is slated to vote on a resolution drafted by the Palestinians and submitted by Jordan which aims to force Israel out of Judea and Samaria by 2017 and create a Palestinian state.
This unilateral move, which is designed to dictate to the Jewish state the terms of a Middle East settlement, is simply inexcusable. It is the diplomatic equivalent of a Palestinian terrorist attack, an attempt by our foes to cause damage to Israel and intimidate its leadership into making dangerous concessions. Regardless of whether the resolution passes or not, the Palestinian Authority should be made to pay a steep price for resorting to such shenanigans, which will only serve to inflame the situation on the ground and incite more violence and bloodshed.
Consider the following: In order for a resolution to pass, it requires the support of at least nine Security Council members. By all accounts, as things stand now, the Palestinians do not have the requisite number of votes needed for the approval of the resolution. A number of the countries currently serving as rotating members of the Security Council, such as Lithuania and South Korea, are said to be unlikely to back the Palestinian initiative, thereby denying it the minimum votes required. Yet, the membership of the Council is slated to change drastically by the end of this week, when hostile anti-Israel states such as Malaysia and Venezuela replace them on January 1. Including Chad, this means that there will be three countries on the Security Council, or one-fifth of the membership, which do not even have diplomatic relations with Jerusalem.
Hence, if the Palestinians wait at least until Thursday, they would almost certainly get the nine votes they need, which would put the US in the uncomfortable position of having to exercise its veto, something it prefers not to do unless absolutely necessary. Nonetheless, such a scenario would still constitute an enormous political victory for the Palestinians, who could then say that the international community is behind them and were it not for America, they could be preparing for statehood.
So just why, you might be wondering, are the Palestinians insisting on bringing the matter to a vote before December 31 if they are certain to lose? Why don’t they just wait another day or two and then come away with at least some kind of diplomatic triumph? However counterintuitive it might sound, the logical answer is that the Palestinians do not want to win. They actually wish to lose. They want to generate further disappointment and frustration on the Palestinian street, in order to ensure the continuation of the low-level intifada that has been raging for months.
Coming away from the Security Council empty-handed, without even a symbolic diplomatic achievement, will strengthen the hand of those Palestinians who call for “resistance” and terrorism against Israel. It will pour more fuel on the fire, and encourage still more attacks in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and elsewhere.
Remarkably, this diplomatic farce is being aided and abetted by Jordan, with which Israel has had a peace treaty since October 1994, yet no one has said a word about Amman’s dastardly behavior.
Among other things, that treaty obligates both sides to “develop good neighborly relations of co-operation between them” (Article 2:3) as well as “to refrain from organizing, instigating, inciting, assisting or participating in acts or threats of belligerency, hostility, subversion or violence against the other Party” (Article 4:3b).
If the Jordanian-sponsored Security Council resolution isn’t a hostile act against Israel, then what is? The United States will also emerge from this situation with a black eye thanks to the Jordanians and the Palestinians.
By rebuffing US Secretary of State John Kerry’s pleas and requests to delay the vote until after Israel’s elections, the Palestinians are underlining the weakness that has taken hold of American foreign policy under Obama. The fact of the matter is that the Palestinian Authority would have collapsed long ago were it not for Washington’s diplomatic and financial support. But that doesn’t seem to stop the Palestinians from spitting in America’s eye, nor do they seem to fear any repercussions from doing so.
Irrespective of how things play out this week, it is incumbent upon Israel to punish the Palestinians for playing with diplomatic fire and adopting such unilateral measures. A good place to start would be for the government to adopt the Levy Report, which was authored by former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy and which was published in July 2012.
The report found that Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria is fully legal under international law and that the Jewish state has every right to build Jewish communities in the area. It also spelled out guidelines as to how to do so. Adoption of the report and its findings would send a clear and firm message to the Palestinians that Israel will not stand by idly and allow them to try to undermine our international status or impose a solution upon the Jewish state.
After all, if PA President Mahmoud Abbas has no qualms about unilaterally attempting to change the reality on the ground, then why should we?