US Declines to Support Security Resolution On Israeli Settlements

Column Lynch reports that “In a sharp reversal, the United States decides to rebuke Israel in the Security Council.”

I wouldn’t exactly put it that way. In fact, what the United States is doing is actually in line with its longstanding policy of defending Israel–even though, in this case, doing so undermines the Obama administration’s stated position on illegal Israeli settlements and further erodes America’s role as a potential peacemaker.

Here’s what happened.  The Palestinians and a number of international allies have been circulating a carefully worded Security Council resolution that condemns new Israeli settlement activity. The sentiment of this resolution carefully parrots statements issued by Secretary of State Clinton and other top American officials who have rightly condemned Israeli settlement construction as totally unhelpful to the peace process.

So, this Palestinian-supported resolution at the Council forced the Obama administration to put its money where its mouth is, so to speak.  But, it would seem, the administration balked. Instead of backing a Security Council resolution, the United States is apparently only willing to support a “Security Council Presidential Statement” which does not have the same kind of force of law as a full fledged Resolution. It is the weaker option. (Though, I should be quick to note, that the Presidential Statement — as opposed to resolution–actually requires the ascent of all 15 members of the council, so it does carry some political weight. Just not any force of law.)

So, it would seem that when push came to shove, the Obama administration did, in fact, come to the defense of Israel.