Some Israelis See The Danger In US Veto

Thank You, Obama, For Showing The Israeli Left Your True Colors by Akiva Eldar (for Ha’aretz)

The decision by 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Barack Obama, to veto a resolution urging Israel to refrain from activities deemed subversive to peace efforts represents a victory of domestic politics over foreign policy in the world’s leading superpower. The lame excuse that denunciation of construction in the settlements would harm “the peace process” constitutes a victory of opportunism over morality.

Just two weeks ago, during the demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that the United States honors “the universal right of all persons to live in freedom.” Even Israel’s former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, a graduate of the “nationalist camp,” argues in his book that settlements violate human rights, the quality of life and freedom of movement of the Palestinians.

What would happen were the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, to join other states in the Security Council and cast a vote in favor of the resolution condemning Israel’s settlement activity? Would the Netanyahu-Lieberman-Barak government place a freeze on settlement activity? George Mitchell, the special envoy for Middle East peace, knows the answer to this question. Ten years ago, an international committee he headed found that Israel’s settlement policies cause humiliation to residents of the territories and disrupt their lives. Mitchell and his associates called on Israel to decide whether the settlements are a bargaining chip for future negotiations or a provocation that will prevent the start of such talks. The committee recommended that a freeze be placed on settlement expansion, even for purposes of “natural growth.” Israel’s government accepted the report.

Since then, the population of the settlements has grown by 50,000. The Mitchell committee’s recommendation for a general settlement freeze, along with the dismantling of settlement outposts set up after March 2001, was included in stage A of the Road Map plan, presented by the quartet to the two sides in April 2003. (The Sharon government did not refer to this recommendation for a freeze when it submitted 14 reservations regarding the Road Map plan.)

A few months later, the Security Council voted unanimously in favor of a Bush administration proposal calling on Israel and the Palestinians to uphold their obligations under the Road Map (Resolution 1515 ). What happened afterward? That’s correct: The settlements continued to grow. So did the settlement outposts. It bears mention that in June 2009, Benjamin Netanyahu informed the Knesset that his government intended to adopt a policy of “dismantling the unauthorized outposts.”

Complete article via Ha’aretz

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