Obama May Back UN Resolution on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The White House is exploring the possibility of supporting a new resolution before the president's term ends, according to the Wall Street Journal, whose report follows a Haaretz article on Israeli concerns for such a move.

U.S. president Barack Obama speaks during a press conference on December 1, 2015 at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris.
AFP

The White House is exploring the possibility of supporting a UN Security Council resolution that would set the principles for a permanent Israeli-Palestinian agreement. The resolution would be brought to a vote before the end of U.S. President Barack Obama's term in office, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

According to the report, published Monday, the White House is also examining other options, such as a speech by Obama on the American vision for a two-state solution, but that would be a mostly declarative move.

A senior U.S. administration official told the Wall Street Journal that a final decision on the matter hasn’t yet been reached, and that the president is examining a number of options. He said that the timing for a move has not yet been determined either, adding that Obama wants to put the Israeli-Palestinian issue on a more promising track before his successor takes office in January.

Ten days ago, Haaretz reported that the Prime Minister's Office and the Foreign Ministry outlined a few scenarios regarding possible moves that Obama may take during his last year in office on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. In the first scenario, Obama would do nothing on the issue before the end of his term, except for steps to prevent any deterioration in ties between the conflicting sides. The assessment was that the likelihood of this scenario happening is not high.

The second possibility is that Obama will give a speech in which he presents the U.S. vision for a solution to the core issues of the conflict: borders, security, the return of refugees and the division of Jerusalem. Obama’s speech would be based on the draft framework agreement that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry almost succeeded in formulating during peace negotiations in early 2014. There is a higher probability of this scenario materializing, Israel surmised.

A third possibility, which was described as being a certain possibility too, is American support for a UN Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Some of Obama's advisers, as well as senior officials at the State Department in Washington, believe that the American president's legacy on the Israeli-Palestinian issue should be a Security Council resolution that would determine principles for the end of the conflict.

Such a resolution would replace the Security Council's Resolution 242 from 1967 and Resolution 338 from 1973. It would serve as a new source of authority for the peace process, secure and preserve the two-state solution, and make it clear to the Israelis and Palestinians what concessions they would have to make if they one day decide to renew the peace process.