Saturday, October 30, 2010

The UN or Israel? America must choose.

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 10/30/10

In a very short time the U.S. may have to choose between the UN and Israel. It could be the beginning of the end for the UN.

Direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are moving inevitably toward collapse, says John Bolton, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. In an Oct. 20th op-ed in the WSJ he said the Palestinian Authority (PA) fully understands that the talks—and the "two state solution"—will fail. Several ideas are circulating to skip negotiations with Israel and move immediately to Palestinian "statehood."

The PA could persuade the United States to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The other option would have the United Nations Security Council call upon U.N. members to recognize "Palestine" within those lines. Critical to this second tactic is a U.S. commitment either to support such a Security Council resolution or, at a minimum, not to veto it.

President Obama has a jaundiced view of Israel, says Bolton, but actual recognition of "Palestine" seems remote. A more indirect but still effective course is to let statehood emerge through a Security Council resolution: “Israel would then confront a dramatic change in its international posture, facing a political equivalency with the new state of Palestine.”

“A Security Council resolution fixing the 1967 lines as borders would call into question even Israel's legitimacy, dramatically undercutting prospects for security and defensibility,” says Bolton.

Bolton’s thinking has resonated in the past week. If America joined the world in opposition to Israel it would not hinder Israel’s progress in the world. It would however, leave the UN jaundiced in the eyes of Americans, 8 out of 10 who feel kindly toward Israel, and it would nurture the UN’s advanced state of irrelevancy.

But Roger Cohen writes in the NYTs a week after Bolton’s piece: President Barack Obama has to overcome that [Israeli] skepticism if his words to the United Nations General Assembly five weeks ago are not to be added to the long list of well-meaning Middle East blather. Those words were: ‘When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations — an independent sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel.’

“I don’t believe Israel has yet got to where the world is: the inevitability of a Palestinian state,” writes Cohen.

That is exactly the issue; the advanced Woodstock Nation model of world peace - the illusion of global American cultural conquest. But “we are the world” only in hippie law. The “rest of the world” does not have an absolute or even perhaps relevant voice in the internal affairs of Israel any more than it does in South Boston or (“Come and take it.”) Texas. And the President of the United States does not speak for “the rest of the world” in opposition to Israel or in opposition to the United States.

Probably more pertinent to the moment is another essay Cohen wrote the day after Bolton’s piece appeared. “Among the minor fiascoes of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, the rapid White House-to-wipe-out course of Middle Eastern diplomacy in recent weeks rates high. . . No U.S. president should invest his personal capital by inaugurating direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders when those talks are set to abort weeks later over an issue — Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank — that’s long been sitting there like a big truck on the road.”

This is the work of an amateurish state department which tweets sardonic birthday wishes to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It is the fault specifically of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It is the fault primarily of President Obama.

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