The applause in the Security Council room Friday was directed at Samantha Power, the American ambassador who declined to veto an anti-Israeli resolution, an act of diplomatic warfare against the Jewish state.
The three-page text, now part of international law, can hurt all Israeli citizens and institutions. It will also likely harm any hope of renewal of peace talks between Israeli and Palestinians.
And America’s loss of global leadership — don’t even get me started.
Consider: Egypt, the Arab member of the Security Council, circulated the resolution’s draft Wednesday night. Then President-elect Donald Trump issued a statement calling on the US to veto it. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Trump and with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Sisi called Trump, who leaned on him to withdraw the resolution. Sisi agreed.
The Egyptian leader looks forward to renewed relations with Washington, which have been icy. He evidently values strategic relations with Israel more than his fraught ties with Palestinian leaders. He also cares more about Trump than the outgoing president.
Meanwhile, during all this frantic activity, President Obama watched from Hawaii, where he’s on an end-of-year vacation.
For months, as the Palestinian-initiated resolution was brewing, America declined to reveal intentions, leaving UN diplomats wondering what it would do. But when Egypt withdrew from presenting the resolution on Thursday, Obama’s lieutenants finally got busy, leaking anonymously that they were going to let the resolution pass.
That signaled others to revive the resolution. Sure enough, Malaysia, Senegal, New Zealand and Venezuela brought the text up for a Friday vote.
Caracas’s UN ambassador, Rafael Ramirez, who lives high on the hog in New York while Venezuelans can’t get food or medicine and while crime ravages their streets, lectured Israel on all the injustice it inflicts on Palestinians.
Such macabre performances can lead someone to conclude that it’s “unwise for [the UN Security] Council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians.”
That was the opinion expressed by Susan Rice, now Obama’s national security adviser, when, as UN ambassador, she vetoed a September 2011 resolution similar to the one her successor allowed to pass Friday.
Maybe Obama thinks Israeli settlements are the key impediment to peace — so much so that it’s worth straying from the long US tradition of shielding the Jewish state from the ire of obsessed dictators at the United Nations, and going against the express wishes of his elected successor.
But if so, shouldn’t American diplomats then write the resolution, rather than hide behind the backs of Palestine, which isn’t even a UN member, rather than ally with Venezuela?
Instead, Obama passed the baton of handling Israeli-Palestinian relations to Turtle Bay. And there, the wolves gladly picked it up.
Under the resolution, a young Israeli renting an apartment in Maale Edomim, a Jewish suburb of Jerusalem, may be tried at The Hague for “flagrant violation of international law.”
If the mayor of Jerusalem decides to repaint a wall in the historic Old City’s Jewish Quarter, he can be hauled to court for refusing to “completely cease all settlement activity.”
And, oh, the resolution mandates a UN report on its implementation every three months until eternity — assuring lasting harm.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-NC) said on Friday he would launch a drive to slash US funding for the United Nations as result of this resolution. At the same time, members of the Security Council, who have long awaited an American president who would join their gang-up on Israel, applauded Power.
“As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th,” Trump tweeted from Mar-a-Lago.
They can’t be much worse.