UN Resolution 2334 ala John le Carre


Image courtesy of the University of Texas

The recently passed United Nations resolution 2334 has many up in arms in both Israel and the US. This resolution specifically condemns Israeli settlements in the west bank, stating they have no legal validity and are a violation of international law. The most troubling part of the resolution implies Israel must return to the borders of 1967. Many see this as an impediment to peace under the two state solution theory.

No one who studies the politics of the Middle East expects Israel to return to the borders of 1967 or give up sovereignty over East Jerusalem. The borders arbitrarily drawn by Great Brittan are indefensible and when the Arabs had control of East Jerusalem, Jews were not allowed to worship at the holiest site in Judaism, the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. The Arabs also desecrated this holy site. Consequently negotiations for the two state solution have included land swaps. Swaps that would allow Israel to maintain defensible borders and at least partial sovereignty over East Jerusalem.

The US abstained from voting on resolution 2334 but, by refused to veto the resolution, the US allowed it to pass. It is important to note that Obama is not alone; H.W. Bush and Clinton, among other US presidents, refused to use their veto power and allowed a number of anti-Israel resolutions to pass. This is the first time the Obama administration has followed suit.

The world now debates: how this will affect Israel; how this will affect the Arabs living in the West Bank; how this will affect the peace process; will the incoming Trump administration try to reverse the resolution. But, is this all simply a diversion? Did Obama allow the resolution to pass as a snub to Netanyahu or is there another reason? Let’s look at the actions of the Obama administration from a different angle, say through a lens we’ll name John le Carre, for the former British intelligence operative turned talented spy fiction author.

While the two state solution may have been viable at one time, that time has passed. The Arab Spring and the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have thrown much of the Arab world into anarchy. If Israel were to withdraw from the West Bank today and allow the territory to become a sovereign state, tomorrow it would be a failed state, the likes of Somalia, Libya and Yemen.

Image courtesy of the University of Texas
Image courtesy of the University of Texas

Without Israel to keep peace in the territory and control the borders, al Qaeda, the Islamic State, Hamas, Hezbollah and other groups would move in and battle each other and the Palestinian Authority (PA) for control. The situation would be far worse than it is now. Jordan would have another failed state on its border, and with its majority Palestinian population, would likely become destabilized, adding further chaos to the region.

Israel has been working clandestinely with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism and stymie Iran’s growing influence in the region. The US is of course involved, as are other western countries and Turkey. All of these countries know the PA lacks the power to control the borders of a sovereign state. The PA also knows this but, no leader can admit so publically. So, the unviable scheme of a two state solution remains. The two state solution may someday become a viable when/if the Middle East becomes stable. What does the world do in the meantime?

It is not unlikely the US allowed the resolution to pass or possibly engineered the passage in an effort to maintain stability in the West Bank by making negotiations on the two state solution more difficult. This would have required collaboration between Obama and Netanyahu, a perfect cover; no one would guess the two could work together. Under such a scenario Netanyahu would act the outraged statesman, while other states in the region stick with their decades old script of support for a Palestinian state. Such machinations are not strictly the fodder of fiction.


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