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Posted at 8:14 AM ET, 02/17/2011

U.S. 'compromise' offer to condemn Israel

By Jennifer Rubin

The U.S., in an apparent attempt to spare itself the trouble of vetoing a Palestinian-backed U.N. Security Council resolution seeking to condemn Israel, offered an unprecedented "compromise" that would entail a sharp rebuke of our democratic ally. Even that was not enough to satisfy Israel's foes. And, in a noteworthy demonstration of his foreign policy chops, Republican presidential contender Tim Pawlenty was quick to condemn the administration's gambit.

Colum Lynch of Foreign Policy reported:

The U.S. informed Arab governments Tuesday that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity," a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.

But the Palestinian's rejected the American offer following a meeting late Wednesday of Arab representatives and said it is planning to press for a vote on its resolution Friday, according officials familiar with the issue. The decision to reject the American offer raised the prospects that the Obama administration may cast its first ever veto in the U.N. Security Council.

Still, the U.S. offer signaled a renewed willingness to seek a way out of the current impasse, even if it requires breaking with its key ally and joining others in the council in sending a strong message to Israel to stop its construction of new settlements. The Palestinian delegation, along with the council's Arab member Lebanon, has asked the council's president this evening to schedule a meeting on Friday. But it remained unclear whether the Palestinian move today is simply a negotiating tactic aimed at extracting a better deal from the United States. . . .

In [the compromise] the Security Council "expresses its strong opposition to any unilateral actions by any party, which cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community, and reaffirms, that it does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, which is a serious obstacle to the peace process." The statement also condemns "all forms of violence, including rocket fire from Gaza, and stresses the need for calm and security for both peoples."

But that wasn't all. The U.S., according to an informed source on Capitol Hill, also offered "support for a UNSC fact-finding mission to the Middle East, which the Russians have been pushing." And there was "some sort of Quartet statement that would reference the 1967 borders." Israel, of course has made perfectly clear that 1967 borders are unacceptable, and, in any case, that this is an issue for direct negotiations. (That would be the direct negotiations that the Palestinians walked out of last fall.)

This remarkable deviation from past administrations' treatment of Israel was not lost on Pawlenty. His spokesman provided a statement via e-mail, "The Obama administration has shown an astonishing unwillingness to stand by Israel at the United Nations, an organization with a long history of blaming Israel for just about every problem in the Middle East. It's time for our UN ambassador to finally show some leadership, draw a line in the sand, and defend our historic ally. Global stability depends more than ever on a respected America that is loyal to our allies and realistic about the malice of our adversaries."

Pawlenty is exactly right. Because this administration does not want to do what its predecessors did -- exercise the Security Council veto to shield Israel from one-sided resolutions seeking to isolate the Jewish state in the international community -- it instead has offered to join the pack of jackals that seek, at best, to extract concessions and impose a deal on Israel and, at worst, delegitimize Israel.

An A.P. report echoing the whimpering of the administration contends that since the offer of "compromise" was rejected the administration is in "difficult position." Only this administration would consider it difficult to stand with its ally and rebuff Palestinian efforts to advance their position without concessions or even participation in the "peace process."

As of now, the State Department isn't talking. But after belatedly promising to veto an anti-Israel resolution, it is hard to see this as anything other than a bait-and-switch by the administration. So far, there has been not a peep out of AIPAC or other mainstream American Jewish organizations that have again and again excused the administration's efforts to distance the U.S. from Israel.

The U.S. and Israel were saved, in some sense, by the obtuseness and maximalist demands of Israel's foes who declined the "compromise." (And why should they do any differently? Why stop at just a "compromise," when there is so much more they might gain from their friends in the White House?) But the damage is done. Once again, Israel's foes, most especially Iran, can see the daylight between the administration and Israel. How would Israel's opponents not be emboldened by the administration's behavior?

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 17, 2011; 8:14 AM ET
Categories:  Israel  
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Comments

I support Israel, it's right to exist and its importance as a democracy in the middle of a plethora of hostile neighbors.

What I don't understand is Jennifer's position which seems to suggest any criticism of Israel is off limits, and the United States should simply reflexively defend everything Israel does for fear of giving Israel's foes ammunition.

Posted by: mustangs79 | February 17, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

We may be losing our largest, most important Arab ally in the Middle East, Egypt. Bahrain, home to our most important naval base in the region, and Yemen, home to AQ in the Arabian Peninsula, are both teetering. Pakistan is holding one of our diplomats prisoner. Also, Turkey, our formerly staunch NATO ally, is becoming an Islamist ally of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. So what does Obama do to restore our standing in the Muslim world? Condemn Israel, of course.

Posted by: eoniii | February 17, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Ms Rubin's piece comports with reality only if you substitute the word "settlements" for the word "Israel." Otherwise her piece is an exercise in demagoguery which confuses criticism of the policies of a country with the country itself.

Posted by: paul4sure | February 17, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

If you examine our relationship with Israel since 1948, you can easily see that the Israelis killed American citizens and got way with it. The Israelis spied on America repeatedly and got away with it. The Israelis sold our top military and industrial technology to Communist China and got away with it.

No American political figure can condemn Israel for anything; Israel is untouchable in America. The Israeli lobby has tamed and controlled our Congress and our mainstream media as well. Our Congress is more loyal to Israel than the Israeli Knesset and our media is friendlier to Israel than the Israeli media. The Israeli total control of America’s foreign policy is well known fact that not even the Israelis bother to deny it. No one has framed the power of the Israeli lobby over America better than the ex Israeli Prime Minister, Arial Sharon:

"Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that... I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it." --Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (speaking to Shimon Peres, as reported on Israel Radio [in Hebrew, Kol Yisrael], 3 October 2001)

Posted by: ardestani | February 17, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

It's obvious now more than ever, Ms. Rubin is a traitor to her country. Her loyalties clearly lie with Israel, not the USA.

Posted by: ardestani | February 17, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

It's obvious now more than ever, Ms. Rubin is a traitor to her country. Her loyalties clearly lie with Israel, not the USA.
Posted by: ardestani

I agree. Other Traitors are:
(1)Those Outsourcing our jobs
(2)Those Outsourcing our capital
(3)Those destroying our currency
(4)Those in our government supporting the above

Posted by: rcaruth | February 17, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

It's obvious now more than ever, Ms. Rubin is a traitor to her country. Her loyalties clearly lie with Israel, not the USA.
Posted by: ardestani | February 17, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse
It's obvious now more than ever, Ms. Rubin is a traitor to her country. Her loyalties clearly lie with Israel, not the USA.
Posted by: ardestani
I agree. Other Traitors are:
(1)Those Outsourcing our jobs
(2)Those Outsourcing our capital
(3)Those destroying our currency
(4)Those in our government supporting the above
Posted by: rcaruth

Very much a part of the above:
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-isnt-wall-street-in-jail-20110216?print=true

Posted by: rcaruth | February 17, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Why oh why, dear Washington Post editorial board, did you ever bring Ms. Rubin aboard? If I really need the kind of "perspective" she offers, all I need do to read the communiques from Mr. Lieberman's Foreign Ministry. Her basic premise, in whatever she writes, is: if it's good/bad for Israel, it's good/bad for the US. That's a bad way to do international relations.

Posted by: rober1jf | February 17, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

You are right Ms. Rubin, as always, there must never be daylight between the US and Israel. We must remain complicit in zionist ethnic cleansing and aparteid. And you are correct this will not change until the rug is pulled out from under us all. Congratulation on your astuteness. After us, the deluge.

Posted by: lastrebelstanding | February 17, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I for one believe that Israel has every right to build in Judea and Samaria. She was given this right by the San Remo Resolution in 1922 and the Palestine Mandate of 1922 and by international law generally. Those who say otherwise are distorting the law. Let us assume that you think I am wrong on this. No problem we should debate it. One should not assume that since the whole world says the settlements are illegal, that they are.

Nothing wrong with criticizing Israel when she is in the wrong. I do it all the time. But when she is in the right, she should be supported regardless of what the lynch mob at the UN and in the liberal press want you to believe. You owe it to your country and to yourself to think for yourself and be absolutely certain that what you have been lead to believe is in fact true.

Ninety percent of what you learn about Israel from the NYT and WaPo is a distortion of the truth.

Posted by: IsraPundit | February 17, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

"You owe it to your country and to yourself to think for yourself and be absolutely certain that what you have been lead to believe is in fact true."
Posted by: IsraPundit

The problem with this is that Rubin has no conscience except for the furtherance of the NeoCon,Trotskyite agenda. To understand her,you need to understand how members of a cult like Scientology operate,NeoConservatism is a cult very much like Scientology. Cult members are not like you and me,they are not free.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 17, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: eoniii | February 17, 2011 9:32 AM

So what does Obama do to restore our standing in the Muslim world? Condemn Israel, of course.

______________________

Friends don't let friends drink and drive.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 17, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: IsraPundit | February 17, 2011 4:41 PM

I for one believe that Israel has every right to build in Judea and Samaria.

_______________________________________

Believe what you will, but you are wrong.

The San Remo Resolution did not create a Jewish State, it declared that a Jewish homeland be created IN Palestine (ie. that Palestine was to be shared). Furthermore, the San Remo agreement handed authority to the mandate of Palestine under British Administration.

The Zionists agreed to the partition in 1947, so the San Remo agreement became obsolete as of then.

So yes, let';s debate this all you want. You might want to start by actually reading what the conclusion of the San Remo agreement actually state.

In 1967, Israel's own legal counsel concluded that the settlements were a violation of the 4th Geneva Conversation on human rights. Israel's Supreme Court agreed.


Posted by: Shingo1 | February 17, 2011 7:46 PM | Report abuse

One more thing IsraPundit

Judea and Samaria are not mentioned anywhere in the San Remo Resolution of 1922.

Posted by: Shingo1 | February 18, 2011 1:29 AM | Report abuse

A resolution is to be put before the UN Security Council asserting:

“that all Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of peace on the basis of the two-State solution,” and condemns the “continuation of settlement activities by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”. The resolution demands “that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respects all of its legal obligations in this regard.”

This proposed UNSC resolution is of great importance to all UN member states in that it would finally reconfirm that which has already been explicitly stated by UNSCR 242 of 11/67 in that the expropriation of Palestinian land is illegal.

It is now expected that the US will reverse the veto of the previous government of Republican GW Bush, and will vote for a binding resolution upon the Israeli government to repatriate all its illegal settlers from the occupied territories back to Israel. The world waits for President Obama’s final confirmation.

Posted by: coldale | February 18, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Israel's a democratic ally? What BS, it's a racist, theocratic state up to its' eyeballs in ethnic cleansing and the denial of civil rights to millions of people living within it's borders. It behaves vilely but always self-rightiously. You frighten our craven Congress to do the bidding of Tel Aviv and then gloat in the phoney Congressional tirades by politicians seeking re-election by making outrageous statements against any attempt by the administration, this or any other, to navigate a foriegn policy that will take us some where in the Mid-east. There is nothing in Congress' loud pandering to the Israel firsters worth boasting about. It's craveness may pass in a country syffering from the Great Recession but we like Israel live in a world that is dangerous, and when you commit injustice, ethnic cleansing sweatheart (I'm sure you have your own euphamism) tou invite payback. You do the country you live in and were presumably born in no favor by making us hated around the world.

Posted by: lastrebelstanding | February 19, 2011 1:56 AM | Report abuse

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