24 December 2016

UN Sanctions and Israeli Settlements

Obama finally did it. He stood up to Israel's Likud Party.


Nothing has happened as of yet. The UN condemnation is symbolic at this point but you can be sure Netanyahu and the Israeli Establishment are somewhat shocked and certainly livid.

Obama, frustrated and angered by his dealings with Netanyahu fired something of a Parthian shot as his administration fades into the sunset.

He didn't 'do' anything. It's what he didn't do.

The UN and the Security Council have attempted for years to pass resolutions condemning Israeli activity. Israel is in a league of its own in terms of UN resolutions.

And yet it never goes anywhere. This is due to the fact that the only real power in the UN is within the Security Council and it only takes one veto (from a permanent member) to kill any proposal. The US always blocks any attempt to condemn Israel or any action that tries to get the international ball rolling in terms of stopping their actions. Israel would not be able to do what it does without US backing, on many levels.

Obama's administration simply decided to abstain and thus the resolution passed. This was Obama giving a final gesture to a Prime Minister that has been a thorn in his side and has repeatedly insulted him.

It certainly has gone both ways.

This will seriously tar Obama's legacy within certain sectors of the US and Israeli public. For Evangelicals, particularly those of the Dispensational stripe this action will confirm all their suspicions that Obama is actually some sort of proto-Antichrist figure.

Obama is an evil and lost man to be sure and there are many things he has done that deserve criticism. But 'throwing Israel under the bus' isn't one of them.

Perhaps he's done so now, at least symbolically. But with less than a month left in office it doesn't mean very much.

But as the New Testament provides no warrant for the support of Zionist Israel, and actually in many ways speaks against the very notion, I am hardly upset at the idea of Israel getting slapped down. The Zionist regime in Tel Aviv is anti-Christian, evil and brutal, exceeded only by the militarist and profiteering heretics who pilot the ship of American Evangelicalism.

What does it all mean? Will this diplomatic row escalate?

No one is sure yet but it might not mean much. In less than thirty days Trump will be president and his pick as ambassador to Israel is to the right of Netanyahu. That gives some indication as to the posture of his future administration. Nikki Haley, the proposed UN ambassador will certainly enter a firestorm and her initiation is sure to be rocky.

There will be a great deal of drama at the UN in coming weeks. We will be forced to endure many more absurd speeches from Israel's ambassador-representative Danny Danon. His speech yesterday was filled with falsehoods and hypocrisies sometimes bordering on delusion and fantasy. To compare Zionist settlements in the West Bank to the French building in Paris is a non sequitir at best, and he knows it.

At least we won't have to hear Samantha Power's vile and deceitful rhetoric anymore! But I have a feeling former Tea Party favourite Haley won't be much better.

It is clear that South Carolina governor Haley's appointment (and acceptance) indicate future political ambitions. The GOP continues to promote minority figures as a means of countering the charge that their policies are racist. Haley represents the new 21st century GOP and it is clear she's being tapped for higher office. The stint at the UN will significantly boost her CV, preparing her for a future White House bid.

And yet for all the bluster and all the condemnations of Obama as far as his dealings with Israel, things have been as bad if not worse. The great low in US-Israeli relations was during the George HW Bush administration. Secretary of State James Baker and Israeli PM Yitzhak Shamir loathed each other and all but broke off contact at one point. The Bush administration publically condemned Israeli settlements generating outrage.

Shamir was to the Right of Netanyahu which if you know anything about the latter, that's hard to imagine today.

Interestingly Trump in picking David Friedman as ambassador may prove to be something of a headache for Netanyahu. He will invigorate the Right-wing fringe within Israel, those who think of Netanyahu as a weak compromiser. The Jerusalem issue could spark war as not only the Palestinians but the larger Muslim world will take grave exception to the implication and symbolism of a US embassy in what is for them, al Quds.

The American public, concerned with stories about Jeopardy contestants, Kanye West and Princess Leia is largely unaware of Israel's many relationships with Middle Eastern regimes. They are quietly maintained and very delicate. The Trump administration (like Bush II) may attempt to bulldoze the present (if unstable) order.

Netanyahu may end up with his back against the wall and the situation could become very dangerous.

In some ways this UN debacle may ironically (and to Obama's chagrin) help him, allowing a distraction that will enable him to galvanise and unify the Israeli public.

It's certainly a story that is still unfolding and must be watched. I have no doubt it will be the subject of many a sermon in the dens and pulpits of American Evangelicalism.

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