The Baltimore Jewish Council released a statement Monday saying it is “profoundly disappointed” by last week’s U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The United States abstained from voting, a departure from its usual policy of vetoing any resolutions seen as too overtly critical of Israel.
The BJC called the resolution “one-sided,” claiming it didn’t capture the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“U.N. resolutions like the one approved last week — attacking the only democracy of the Middle East and choosing to focus on isolated issues — harm, rather than help, efforts to restart peaceful negotiations, by making it far less likely that the parties will come to the negotiating table,” the statement goes on. “The BJC believes that the United States’ strong support for its most steadfast democratic ally in the Middle East is both principled and strategic. Unfortunately, the abstention from last week’s U.N. resolution was neither.”
The U.S. is one of five permanent members on the UNSC, along with 10 nonpermanent, rotating members. This resolution — the first addressing “the Palestine question” since 2009, according to the United Nations’ website — was passed nearly unanimously, with all but the U.S. voting in favor. News outlets also reported a burst of audience applause in the packed room upon its passing.
The resolution did not mince words, calling out Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory as having “no legal validity” and as “a flagrant violation under international law.”
President-elect Donald Trump had expressed support for a veto and said in a tweet, “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.” His named ambassador to Israel — David Friedman — is a more hardline Israel supporter, including pro-settlement.
Since the resolution passed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has targeted those countries who voted for the resolution, suspending, or at least limiting, working ties with 12 of the UNSC members, according to CNN. The Israeli Foreign Ministry also tweeted that it has removed the ambassadors from Senegal and New Zealand, both co-sponsors of the resolution, back to Israel as well as canceled a trip to Israel by the Senegalese foreign minister and halted its aid programs to that country.