The PJ Tatler

It begins: US sells out Israel on settlements at UN

Some will say it’s not a total sellout, which is true enough, but in the Israeli historical context that’s pretty cold comfort. A total sellout would take the form of us abandoning Israel entirely as Arab armies had her surrounded or the Iranians were putting a nuke on the launchpad, and that’s something that even this administration won’t do yet.  What it did do today is a sellout that should not be minimized, and with the Middle East going haywire, it’s unlikely to be the last.

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 Wednesdy of Arab representativs and said it is planning to press for a vote on its resolution Friday, according officials familar with the issue.  The decision to reject the American offer raised the prospects that the Obama adminstration 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, have 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.

The US gained precisely nothing from this move, while giving all of our allies everywhere very good reasons to be nervous about our resolve. We have, in the span of about a week, helped nudge out a despotic ally and now further isolated a democratic ally. What good is an alliance with the United States anymore? If you’re Jordan or, well, even as far from the Middle East but in a bad neighborhood like our ally Japan, you’re asking that question right now. That the answer doesn’t immediately spring from your tongue is unsettling, to say the least.

John Tabin has it about right, I think.

[I]n the short term, a more democratic Arab world could be enormously destabilizating; people who have been fed decades of propaganda laden with Jew-hatred will be tempted to embrace a politics of confrontation with Israel. Maintaining Israel’s ability to project strength is the best bet for maintaining peace — Israel must be able to credibly say things like “You don’t like Camp David? We’ll be taking the Sinai back, then.” This is no time to be shy about reminding the world the US has Israel’s back.

This move in the UN sends the opposite message.