[News] Israel punishes the world after UN vote

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Dec 27 18:33:54 EST 2016


https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israel-punishes-world-after-un-vote 



  Israel punishes the world after UN vote

December 27, 2016

On Monday evening I appeared on Al Jazeera English to speak about 
Israel’s reaction to Friday’s UN Security Council decision 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/us-lets-security-council-pass-resolution-against-israeli-settlements>.

Resolution 2334 <https://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sc12657.doc.htm>, 
passed by a vote of 14-0 with the United States abstaining, reaffirmed 
that Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank, including 
Jerusalem, are illegal.

While I previously expressed strong reservations 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/why-un-resolution-settlements-would-be-bad-palestinians> 
about the resolution – because it does not go far enough and could 
undermine some key Palestinian positions – I told Al Jazeera that 
Israel’s panicked reaction is significant.

It is a sign that Israel interprets the UN move as a severe blow to its 
unrestrained colonialism on Palestinian land and as an indication that 
it is becoming seriously isolated.

I also argued that Israel’s attacks on President Barack Obama, and its 
open alignment with President-elect Donald Trump, are evidence of the 
fracturing of the pro-Israel bipartisan consensus in the United States.


    Boosting BDS?

The resolution demands that Israel “immediately and completely cease all 
settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including 
East Jerusalem,” but it imposes no specific consequences if Israel fails 
to do so. In that sense it is as toothless as all its predecessors.

But without the fig leaf of a peace process to hide behind, Israel 
clearly fears that patience is running out and that this resolution will 
boost Palestinian-led efforts to hold Israel accountable – particularly 
the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, told CNN 
<http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/12/26/israeli-ambassador-ron-dermer-on-un-resolution-u-s-relations.cnn> 
that the resolution “encourages boycotts and sanctions against Israel.”

But Israel, already in a weak position internationally, seems determined 
to antagonize the world as much as possible.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the foreign ministry 
portfolio, has ordered 
<http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/26/politics/israel-benjamin-netanyahu-diplomatic-ties/> 
that “working ties” be limited with 12 of the 14 countries on the 
Security Council that backed the resolution – the two others, Malaysia 
and Venezuela, have no diplomatic ties with Israel.

This means, in effect, that Israel is imposing diplomatic sanctions on 
the likes of China, Russia, the United Kingdom and France.

Israel has already canceled 
<http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.761485> a visit by the prime 
minister of Ukraine, prompting Kiev to summon the Israeli ambassador for 
a dressing down.


    Test for new UN chief

Netanyahu also ordered 
<http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4898065,00.html> the foreign 
ministry to “reevaluate” ties with the UN and has reportedly cut a total 
of about $8 million in funding to five UN institutions “that are 
particularly hostile towards Israel.” It is considering withholding 
another $48 million in membership dues.

Israel is also reportedly considering halting visas for employees of UN 
agencies and expelling Chris Gunness 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/chris-gunness>, the spokesperson 
for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees.

It would be an unprecedented step for Israel to expel the spokesperson 
of a UN agency.

“We’ve heard nothing official and therefore I have no substantive 
comment,” Gunness told The Electronic Intifada.

Gunness has long been a thorn in Israel’s side – he has been one of the 
few international officials willing to speak forthrightly about Israel’s 
violations of international law and to call for accountability.

If Israel expels Gunness and is met with impunity and silence by the UN 
and world governments, it would be the first clear sign that the 
resolution passed on Friday is indeed toothless.

Outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed 
<http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55874> the resolution, but 
standing up to Israel’s bullying will likely be the first major test for 
his successor António Guterres 
<http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55781>, who takes over the 
helm at UN headquarters on 1 January.

The spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon did not immediately 
return a request for comment.


    Vitriolic

Israel is also threatening to punish the world by withholding its 
supposedly superior technologies.

“The era is over in which countries benefit from Israeli know-how in 
high-tech, in security and so on, and from the prestige of a visit to 
Israel and involvement in the Middle East without providing diplomatic 
repayment,” Dani Dayan, Israel’s consul-general in New York and a former 
leader in the West Bank settler movement tweeted 
<http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.761514>.

Sami Peretz, a commentator for the Tel Aviv newspaper /Haaretz/ 
ridiculed Dayan’s statement, warning 
<http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.761514> that limiting exports 
“would be much, much worse than any harm ever caused by the BDS movement.”

Israel has been particularly vindictive toward New Zealand and Senegal, 
which co-sponsored the resolution along with Malaysia and Venezuela.

/Haaretz/ reported that New Zealand acted 
<http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.761706> with strong 
backing from the UK, and despite Netanyahu’s threats to its foreign 
minister Murray McCully that advancing the resolution would be 
tantamount to a “declaration of war.”

Netanyahu ordered the cancellation of aid projects in Senegal, including 
a drip-irrigation project that Israel marketed as part of the “fight 
against poverty in Africa 
<http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4603023,00.html>” – a fight 
that is apparently only worth engaging in if it suits Israel’s 
propaganda priorities.

But the most vitriolic response has been reserved for Israel’s closest 
allies and benefactors.

Echoing Netanyahu himself 
<http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/25/politics/israel-un-settlements-netanyahu-ambassadors/>, 
Ambassador Dermer has been touring television studios 
<http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.761470> personally accusing 
President Obama of being behind the “ganging up” on Israel at the UN – 
something the US administration vehemently denies.

Notably, however, Israel has not shown the courage of its convictions by 
refusing the record-breaking $38-billion military aid package 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/obama-hands-israel-largest-military-aid-deal-history> 
Obama recently agreed to give it.

Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman likened 
<http://www.timesofisrael.com/france-rejects-libermans-comparison-of-upcoming-peace-summit-to-dreyfus-affair/> 
France’s efforts to hold an international conference in coming weeks to 
build on the UN resolution to the Dreyfus Affair, the notorious 19th 
century trial and persecution of a French military officer that is seen 
as a seminal example of modern European anti-Semitism.


    “Ridiculous”

Netanyahu is defending <http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.761470> his 
measures as “a wise, aggressive and responsible reaction, a natural 
response that makes it clear to the nations of the world that what took 
place at the UN is unacceptable to us.”

But his reaction is causing disquiet even among hardline supporters of 
Israel’s anti-Palestinian policies.

Dov Weisglass, a former senior advisor to the late Prime Minister Ariel 
Sharon is notorious for saying 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-starvation-diet-gaza/11810> 
a decade ago that Israel would restrict food to Gaza “to put the 
Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.”

Now Weisglass is calling Netanyahu’s reaction to the UN resolution 
“ridiculous.”

“The attempt to create symmetry between us and the rest of the world and 
to punish the 14 countries that voted against us is actually making the 
Palestinian dream of isolating Israel internationally into reality,” 
Weisglass said 
<http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Netanyahu-response-to-UN-vote-isolating-Israel-Ariel-Sharon-confidant-says-476650>.

Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, also expressed 
misgivings. She argued that rather than canceling diplomatic visits, 
Israel would be better off trying to explain its position to the world.

“We need to get rid of this false term, the phrase ‘occupied territory.’ 
This is Israel’s territory — the Land of Israel,” Hotovely said 
<http://www.timesofisrael.com/deputy-fm-questions-pms-diplomatic-embargos-after-un-vote/> 
in reference to the West Bank.

Hotovely may not have noticed that Israel has been trying to do that for 
decades, with elaborate marketing and propaganda schemes. The vote in 
the UN showed that all Israel’s efforts to convince the world that it 
has the right to steal as much Palestinian land as it pleases have come 
to nought.

Experience shows, however, that it is Palestinians who will feel the 
real brunt of Israel’s revenge: Israel is already vowing 
<http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/26/world/middleeast/israel-settlements-un-security-council-benjamin-netanyahu-obama.html> 
to build thousands more settler homes on Palestinian land in direct 
defiance of international law.

The question is whether world governments, having provoked Israel’s 
rage, will have the courage at last to hold it accountable.


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