Donald Trump is already making the Middle East situation better, and he hasn’t even taken office.
A proposed U.N. condemnation of Israel fell apart today because President-Elect Donald Trump spoke out against it. Not only did the United Nations stand down, so did the Obama administration.
The resolution, a draft of which is being floated by Egypt, demands that Israel stop building settlements in territory claimed by Palestinians for a future state. According to reports, the draft text also says such settlement construction violates international law and is “dangerously imperiling the viability of a two-state solution.”
In what appeared to be a full-court press on the topic, Trump used email, Twitter and Facebook to demand that the resolution be vetoed. Trump’s decision to make his stance known was striking in that, in theory, such matters are supposed to be left to the president still in charge to avoid sending mixed signals on U.S. foreign policy, although Trump’s transition team said the White House was given a heads-up.
“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,” Trump said in his emailed statement. “This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”
After Trump’s statement was released, Egypt withdrew the resolution. In addition, a vote on the U.N. condemnation of Israel was postponed. Diplomats told The Wall Street Journal that pressure from the West led to the withdrawal.
Trump may have been motivated by the possibility the Obama administration would turn its back on Israel. President Obama has long been less-than-friendly with the Jewish state, and diplomatic ties have worsened recently. Obama himself has been openly critical of Israel’s efforts to protect itself from Palestinians. For decades, however, America has been a strong supporter of Israel, protecting it from Middle East states.
The wording of the draft resolution closely reflects the views of the peace-negotiating group known as the Middle East Quartet, which issued a report in August calling settlement construction an obstacle to peace and urging its end. The Quartet is composed of the U.N., the U.S., Russia and the European Union.
The U.S. vetoed a similar resolution against the settlements in 2011, but with Barack Obama in the final weeks of his presidency, Palestinian officials have brought the measure forward again hoping the president will break with precedent and not order a U.S. veto or abstention.
What do you think about the U.N. condemnation of Israel and Donald Trump’s response? Let us know in the comments!
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