Friday, May 8, 2015

Obama, EU, UN, Israel, ‘Palestine’—and G-d

At about the same time on May 6, 2015 that Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was finalizing the formation of his new coalition—just two hours before the deadline for doing so—the website Debkafile published an essay titled, “Exclusive: Obama to back Palestinian state at Security Council – payback for Israel’s right-wing cabinet”. The essence of this essay was that US President Barack Obama has given a green light to European governments to file a UN Security Council motion proclaiming an independent Palestinian state (ibid). The essay went on to say that Obama took this action even though Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu had not yet appointed a Foreign Minister, ostensibly out of deference to the White House, which ‘expected’ the Foreign Minister to be a ‘moderate’ (ibid).

Obama couldn’t wait to see whom Netanyahu chose to be that Foreign Minister. As soon as Netanyahu had formed his coalition, Obama gave that green light (ibid).

The essay suggests that the White House is confident that, with the US voting in favor, the motion to create ‘Palestine’ will be passed by an overwhelming majority. The White House believes that the motion would be binding on the Israeli government (ibid).

This is a serious issue. There could be an almost endless number of bad consequences to Israel were the UNSC to pass such a motion.

This is not, however, a sure thing. As IsraelMatzav suggests (“Report: Obama green lights UN Security Council resolution on 'Palestinian state'”, May 8, 2015), Debkafile reports may not always ‘get it right’. This report may not be correct.

What makes the Debkafile essay interesting is that it isn’t the only source for this ‘green light’ story. As soon as Israel’s March 17, 2015 election ended with a triumph (not just a victory) for Netanyahu, the White House reacted. It let it be known that, perhaps, the time had come for a ‘Palestinian’ state (Jack Moore, “U.S. Mulls Support for Palestinian Statehood at UN”, Newsweek, March 19, 2015).

Six days after the Newsweek report, other similar reports surfaced, including one that said that the White House added  some additional hints about this idea just a day or two after the initial story (Juan Cole, “Obama-Netanyahu Tiff worsens: US won’t rule out using UN to create Palestine”, Informed Comment, March 25, 2015).

The Debkafile story may have some ‘legs’. Obama could be serious.

Nevertheless, Obama’s action may not be a total disaster for Israel. For example, Debkafile suggests that the UNSC motion might not address all ‘statehood’ questions. A UNSC motion might not deal with borders for the Palestinian state. It might not deal with security arrangements between Israel and the Palestinians. It might not set a hard-and-fast timeline for implementation (Debkafile, ibid).

There’s also a question of language. It’s not clear if the motion should be phrased as a “resolution” or as a general declaration of intent.

Such language differences are significant. A ‘resolution’ carries far more serious consequences than ‘declaration of intent’, or a ‘non-binding’ resolution.

A UNSC vote might be vague. It might be written in such a manner as not to expose Israel to Security Council sanctions for non-compliance (ibid). It might give Israel a lengthy time scale to follow (ibid).

Debkafile reported this story again because both France’s President and the US Secretary of State are travelling to the Gulf region over the period May 4-7, 2015. Debkafile suggests that both French President Francois Hollande and the US’s John Kerry aim to discuss details of a UNSC motion for ‘Palestine’ with Arab leaders who have gathered May 4-7 in Riyadh for a Gulf Council of Cooperation summit.

This report, the Gulf meeting and the possibility of a UN motion ‘for Palestine’ all occur during the week leading up to the Parshat B’har weekly Torah reading, which Jews in Israel will read on Shabbat, May 9, 2015. The Parsha (Torah portion) B’har (Vayikra, 25:1-26:2) contains a phrase you might want to remember as this UN motion gathers steam to establish a Muslim ‘Palestine’ in Judea-Samaria—Jewish ancestral homeland.

Judea and Samaria are within the borders the G-d of Israel outlined in the Torah (Bamidbar 34:3-12). They are part of the Jewish Israel, by Biblical dictate. 

So, as the UN, the US and the EU all clamour for Israel to surrender this land, remember this: HaShem, the G-d of Israel, tells the Jewish people (about the land of Israel), “the land is Mine” (Vayikra, 25:23, ArtScroll translation).

This land of Israel doesn’t belong to Muslims—contrary to what they claim. It doesn’t belong to the UN, the US, or the EU. It doesn’t belong to Jews. It belongs to HaShem. As HaShem said, “the land is Mine”(see also the first Rashi commentary on the very first word of the Torah).

The UN is not more powerful than G-d. It has no business to tell the G-d of Israel what belongs to Him and what doesn’t.

That’s not diplomacy. It’s arrogance.

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