UN Resolution Is a Breath of Hope in Sea of Darkness and Despair

It’s now even more crystal clear: The world thinks the settlements are a crime. All the settlements and all the world | Opinion

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Benjamin Netanyahu and Yuval Steinitz, December 8, 2015.
Benjamin Netanyahu and Yuval Steinitz, December 8, 2015.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly voted to establish a Jewish state (alongside an Arab state) in the Land of Israel. Sixty-nine years later, on December 23, 2016, the UN Security Council voted to try to save it. Resolution 2334 that was approved Friday is a gust of good news, a breath of hope in the sea of darkness and despair of recent years.

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Just when it seemed that everything was going downhill – the deepening occupation increasingly supported by America, with Europe galloping to the right – along came a Hanukkah resolution that lights a thin candle. When it seemed that the evil ones would remain victorious, along came New Zealand and three other countries and gave the world a Christmas gift.

Read more on the Security Council resolution:  It's the settlements, stupid: UN failure is entirely Netanyahu's / Analysis | Obama, where have you been for 8 wasted years? / Analysis | Why the Palestinians are jubilant and Israel is spooked / Analysis | Security Council punch knocks Netanyahu down from hubris to humiliation

So thanks to New Zealand, Venezuela and Malaysia. True, the Christmas tree they’ve supplied, with all its sparkling lights, will soon be removed; Donald Trump is already waiting at the gate. But the imprint will remain. Until then, this temporary rejoicing is a joy, despite the expected hangover.

We of course must ask U.S. President Barack Obama in fury: Now you’re doing something? And we must ask the world in frustration: What about actions? But it’s impossible to ignore the Security Council decision that rules that all the settlements are illegal by nature.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can call back his ambassadors, while his right-hand minister Yuval Steinitz can shriek that the resolution is “unfair.” (He has a sense of humor.) And opposition leader Isaac Herzog can babble that “we need to fight the decision with all means.” But there isn’t a person in the world with a conscience who won’t rejoice over the resolution.

There also isn’t a decent Israeli who ought to fall for the propaganda that calls the resolution “anti-Israeli,” a definition that the Israeli media rushed to adopt with its characteristic slavishness, of course.

This decision has brought Israel back to the solid ground of reality. All the settlements, including in the territories that have been annexed, including in East Jerusalem of course, are a violation of international law. In other words, they are a crime. No country in the world thinks otherwise. The entire world thinks so all Israel’s so-called friends and all its so-called enemies unanimously.

Most probably the tools of brainwashing in Israel, along with the mechanisms of repression and denial, will try to undermine the decision. But when the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia unite in such a clear statement, this will be difficult work.

So you can say “the entire world is against us.” You can scream “anti-Semitism!” You can ask “What about Syria?” In the end this clear-as-crystal truth will remain: The world thinks that the settlements are a crime. All the settlements and all the world.

True, the world doesn’t lift a finger to have the settlements removed, but maybe one day this will happen. Still, it will be too late by then, too late.

Resolution 2334 artificially distinguishes between Israel and the settlements in that it is aimed at the settlements, not the occupation. As if the guilt of Amona were on its settlers and not all Israelis. This deception proves how much the world continues to treat Israel with leniency and hesitates to takes steps against it, as it did with Russia’s conquest of Crimea, for example.

But Israelis who don’t live in Amona, who have never been there, who have no real interest in its fate it seems most Israelis have to ask themselves: Is it really worth it? All this for a few settlers they don’t know and don’t really want to know?

Resolution 2334 is meant above all for Israeli ears, like an alarm clock that makes sure to wake you up on time, like a siren that tells you to go down to the bomb shelter. True, the resolution has no concrete value; true, the new U.S. administration promises to erase it.

But two questions won’t let up: Why don’t the Palestinians deserve exactly the same thing that Israelis deserve, and how much can one country, with all its lobbying power, weapons and high-tech, ignore the entire world? On this first day of both Hanukkah and Christmas, we can enjoy, if only for a moment, the sweet illusion that Resolution 2334 will rouse these questions in Israel.

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