Posts tagged United Nations

Could UNHRC’s settlement report put the ‘S’ back in BDS?

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The UNHRC-sanctioned International Fact Finding Mission’s report on Israeli settlements is by no means the harshest UN document on Israel. But its last paragraph introduces one element that previously existed only in small pro-Palestinian and human rights activist circles. Namely, it puts the “S” back in BDS.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign has had mixed, but limited, success since its official launch in its current iteration nearly seven years ago. Divestment and boycott campaigns have claimed small victories after targeting educational and labor pension investment funds, transportation companies serving Israelis in the occupied Palestinian territories, academic conferences and musical and cultural events. But many “big-picture” observers will admit that its successes have led to little if any change in Israeli policy, and subsequently, in the Palestinian reality.

While former international officials have called for limited sanctions against Israel should it fail to cease its settlement enterprise, and current officials have hinted at limited travel sanctions against violent settlers, the notion of sanctions against Israel has largely taken a back seat to the more constricted and arguably less impactful boycott and divestment campaigns.

Last week’s UN report, however, advanced the prospects of – and possibly laid the beginnings of (more…)

The September Plan: An even bigger ‘nuclear option’

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Diplomats, politicians, pundits and voyeurs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have a new-found obsession, the prospect of Palestine becoming the 193rd member state in the United Nations this September (a move referred to as the Palestinians’ “nuclear option”). While Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has yet to present an Israeli counter-proposal, peace plan or any effective measures to prevent the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders, he might be well served to consider an outcome that fares even worse for Israel.

Late last year, Palestinian Authority negotiator and senior Fatah member Mohammed Shtayyeh told reporters that if the PA’s bid for statehood in the UN fails, that Palestinians have another option up their sleeve – to request UN custodianship of the Palestinian territories.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was completely justified last month when he coined the term, “diplomatic tsunami,” to describe the prospect of a unilaterally declared Palestinian state gaining recognition and membership in the United Nations. Not only would such a move alter (more…)

The fragility of ‘unbreakable bonds’

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The United States’ veto on Friday of a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning settlements in the West Bank presented a difficult moment for Washington. The resolution, written to mirror much of the language used by the United States over the years, left the White House with a dilemma of whether it should blindly stand by its friends in Israel or stand behind its long-stated position that settlements are illegal and a serious obstacle to a two-state solution. Additionally, by vetoing the resolution, the Obama administration defied nearly every country represented in the UN and took a risk of isolating itself alongside Israel. While the US continues to provide unwavering support for Israel, it is a mistaken assumption that there is an “unbreakable bond” between the two states. If Washington becomes increasingly isolated (economically or politically) as a result of its support and defense of Israel, the relationship may be in trouble.

Since the late 1960s, the “unbreakable bond” between the United States and Israel has been based on four main points. Firstly, Israel was one of the only Middle Eastern states (more…)

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