December 11, 2018

Hamas, not settlements, is root of problem

The latest diplomatic ambush of Israel was made possible only by the United States’ historic reversal of its decades-long Mideast policy of vetoing one-sided anti-Israel initiatives at the United Nations Security Council.

President Barack Obama’s abstention was actually an endorsement of an onerous one-sided resolution that among other items, defines Judaism’s holiest site as “occupied Palestinian territory” and encourages nations to undertake the boycott of goods made by Jews in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Make no mistake, this new resolution — developed with the Obama administration’s knowledge and some say with its collusion — is much worse and more dangerous than the U.N.’s notorious 1975 Zionism equals Racism resolution. It radically undermines — if not destroys — Israel’s relationship with the U.N. It makes any role for the U.N. in future Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations impossible. It has effectively removed any incentive for the Palestinian Authority to have face-to-face negotiations with the Jewish state. Indeed, there are stories suggesting that Secretary of State John Kerry will present a detailed map that would dictate a two-state solution. Not a word from Obama and his secretary of state, not a peep from the hypocrites seated around the Security Council table about the real obstacle to a two-state solution: the continued control of Hamas in Gaza.

In their own countries, the French, British, German, Italian and Ukrainian security forces spend days and nights searching every street corner for suspected terrorists threatening their citizenry. Yet, the mantra of what is blocking the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, remains one word: not terrorism, but settlements. While these civilian communities are overwhelmingly populated by peaceful citizens, every carefully crafted diplomatic initiative judiciously omits any mention of one other word — Hamas — whose raison d’être is the complete destruction of the State Israel.

You want to guarantee a peaceful two-state solution? Convene a Security Council meeting on how to dislodge Hamas from Gaza, and you’ll have one.

Before buying Obama and Kerry’s roadmap, we would suggest checking with the millions of Syrians, gassed, shot and dislocated, all while Kerry presented one useless piece of paper after another, in search of a “peaceful solution” for the people of Aleppo.

That these bare-knuckle, anti-Israel maneuvers are launched against America’s only reliable Middle East ally by its longtime ally, is despicable enough, but that it has been launched at 11:59 p.m. of the Obama administration is almost beyond belief.

Israel, her friends and allies across the United States are grateful that President-elect Donald Trump has said that “things will be different” after Jan. 20. We look forward to his dispatching our new ambassador to Israel to start working in Jerusalem as the new U.S. embassy is finally built in the eternal capital of the Jewish people.

In the meantime, the American people have a right to know where our senators and congress members, Democratic and Republican, stand on the Obama U.N. gambit. Is his vision shared by any of our elected officials? We all have a right to know whether other decision makers consider the Western Wall — our Kotel — to be located on stolen property. And with 200 disputed territories around the globe, is it moral or anti-Semitic to focus exclusively on only this one?

During 2017, the U.N. and UNESCO will have new leaders taking the helm. They might want to consider the price of continuing the one-sided bullying of Israel by the United Nations. They should reflect on the fact that the U.S. has refused to pay $400 million in dues to UNESCO because its acceptance of “Palestine” as a member state violated a U.S. statute signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton. If the U.N., under new leadership, continues its nonstop demonizing of the Jewish state, we hope that the new Trump administration will seriously consider endorsing Sen. Lindsey Graham’s threatened bill to downsize the United States’ oversized, annual financial contribution.

As for President Obama and Secretary Kerry, their last-minute U.N. gambit seeks to add a fourth “achievement” to their Middle East legacy. Here are the other three:

1. Failure to destroy ISIS, early and outright.

2. The Iran nuclear deal that has succeeded only in further empowering the Mullahocracy.

3. Syrian ‘Red Line’ debacle.

The Jewish people are a people of memory. We approach our collective future with eyes wide open. No matter what the pressure, no Israeli government, left, right or center will ever accept that our people’s sacred sites are built on stolen land; nor will it ever validate the lies denying the Jewish people’s 3,500-year link to the Holy Land — those very lies that now pass for historic fact at the United Nations.

And rest assured that Israel will never walk the gangplank for the convenience of a hypocritical world.

Rabbi Marvin Hier is the Dean and Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Abraham Cooper is Associate Dean.