RAMALLAH, Feb 19 (JMCC) - Activist Phyllis Bennis argues that
the United States' Friday veto of a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements is still a victory for human rights.
The isolation of the United States as the sole council member vetoing the resolution could mean greater international involvement in the Palestinian-Israeli issue, she writes. At the same time, Bennis has biting words for the US, which argued that the resolution could actually increase Israeli settlement activity.
In the end, the Obama administration’s early threats proved accurate. The U.S. stood alone. Ambassador Susan Rice’s statement was astonishingly defensive – she went to great lengths to claim that the U.S. actually agrees with the resolution, that no one has done more than the U.S. to support a two-state solution, that the U.S. thinks settlement activity (not, we should note, the continuing existence of longstanding settlements now home to 500,000 illegal Jewish settlers in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem) violates Israel’s international commitments and more. She tried to convince the world that “opposition to the resolution should not be misunderstood” to mean the U.S. supports settlement activity – only that the Obama administration “thinks it unwise” for the United Nations to try to stop that settlement activity. She defined settlements as one of the “core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians,” not as a violation of international law and a host of specific UN resolutions. Therefore, she claimed, the issue was just one of the wrong venue for this debate.
We’re really against settlements, she pleaded, we just want to end them OUR way. On OUR terms. In OUR peace talks. And we all know how well that’s gone so far.