U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
NEW YORK-- The Obama administration has not yet decided whether to endorse efforts at the UN Security Council addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by the end of the president’s term, Washington’s envoy to the UN, Samantha Power, told a group of Jewish leaders on Thursday.
The Manhattan meeting, which included Power and over 40 representatives from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, featured a lengthy conversation on the prospect of UN action – of great concern to the Jewish-American establishment, to the Israeli government and apparently opposed by the president’s choice for successor, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who has characterized such moves in the past as “counterproductive.”
Attendees of the meeting who spoke afterward with The Jerusalem Post left with the impression that Power doubts action will be taken. But US officials say that no final decision has been made as to how the US will proceed.
“When asked about whether the Obama administration was planning an initiative related to Middle East peace, Ambassador Power stated that she could not foreclose any options, because ultimately such a decision will be made by the president,” a US official told the Post on Friday night, confirming the conversation. “When asked about a potential UN Security Council resolution, she answered that she would not speculate on a hypothetical resolution and clarified that no such resolution is on the table today.”
France has led an effort in recent months to outline international parameters for a two-state solution, and to effectively set a new standard for an end to the decades-old conflict. Israel opposes the initiative as an imposition of terms, but the US says it supports the effort in principle.
Paris would like such terms codified in a Security Council resolution. The US says that it does not oppose all resolutions on Israel in the council as a blanket rule.
Power said that the administration “will continue to assess how to most effectively support a negotiated twostate solution, and reaffirmed that the administration would oppose one-sided resolutions at the UN Security Council that delegitimize Israel or undermine its security,” the official added.
Since Obama took office, the Security Council has not passed any resolutions against Israel, with the US vetoing one such text in 2011 and working behind the scenes to halt others.
During his administration the Palestinians have persistently called for council resolutions to be passed against Israel, including just a few weeks ago in July, in response to the Jerusalem Municipality’s plans to advance the construction of 770 homes in the Jewish neighborhood of Gilo, which is located over the pre-1967 lines.
The Palestinians had hoped that the Quartet report on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which was issued in July, would lead to a resolution against Israel.
It is believed that the US worked behind the scenes to prevent such action.
Israel, however, has remained nervous that the Obama administration could change course and support a Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is particularly concerned that such an action could occur in December, in the aftermath of the US election, when the administration would no longer need to curry favor with the Jewish voters.