Bay Ridge

U.N. anti-Israel vote finds contempt from both sides of House

December 27, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, pictured at a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Dec. 25, has criticized the Obama Administration over the U.N. resolution. The U.S. abstained and did not veto the measure. Dan Balilty/Pool photo via AP
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The vote by the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements on the West Bank has drawn sharp criticism from Brooklyn lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in the House of Representatives.

On Dec. 23, the 15-member Security Council voted to adopt a non-binding resolution, stating that establishing Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory is a “major obstacle” to a two-state solution for peace in the Middle East.

The U.S., which in the past has blocked anti-Israel resolutions by vetoing them, abstained this time around. The abstention allowed the resolution to move forward.

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“The U.S. was mistaken in failing to veto the U.N. Security Council resolution regarding Israel. One-sided resolutions are not a path to peace, and I condemn this resolution which underscores dangerous anti-Israel sentiments,” U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-C-Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island) said in a statement.

Donovan, a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said the U.S. should be on Israel’s side in international matters. “Lasting peace will only come through direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine. With so much turmoil and conflict in the Middle East, it’s critical that our nation defends our greatest ally in the region,” he stated.

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-West Side-Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst) released a statement on Dec. 23 expressing disappointment with both the resolution and the U.S.’s failure to stop it.

“I am deeply disappointed by today’s events at the United Nations Security Council, particularly the United States’ abstention, damaging any hope for, or progress on, an eventual peace agreement. Rather than bringing a peaceful accord nearer, the United Nations Security Council’s approval of today’s one-sided resolution pushes both sides further apart. The resolution seeks to create an irresponsible and inaccurate narrative, making no mention of Palestinian responsibility, either for their incitement of violence or their refusal to return to talks with the Israelis, and only serves the purpose of seeking to delegitimize Israel on the world stage. The only way there can ever be an Israeli-Palestinian peace is through direct negotiations between the parties, not with imposed solutions,” Nadler stated.

The U.N. resolution has also caused infighting in Brooklyn Democratic Party circles, according to the New York Observer.

Assemblymember Charles Barron (D-East New York) posted a statement on Facebook blasting U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries for his stand on the issue. Jeffries (D-Brooklyn-Queens) gave an interview to NY1 in which he stated that the Obama administration should have vetoed the resolution, the Observer reported.

“Israel is still our closest ally in the Middle East and from my perspective, the United States should continue to play the role of diplomatic shield before the United Nations. I would have advised the president and his U.N. ambassador to veto that particular Security Council resolution,” Jeffries told NY1.

But Barron called the interview “shameful” and wrote that Jeffries was wrong. “Not only was Congressman Jeffries going against President Obama, he was also going against the 15 nation members of the U.N. Security Council and the overwhelming majority of the nations in the world,” he wrote on Facebook.

Michael Hardaway, a spokesman for Jeffries, pointed out that Barron ran against Jeffries for Congress in 2012 and was defeated by more than 40 points. “His reckless and irresponsible rhetoric was dismissed by the people of the Eighth Congressional District then, and it merits no response today,” the Observer quoted Hardaway as saying.

Meanwhile, the fallout from the resolution could be felt from Washington, D.C. to Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Obama administration of being behind the resolution.

“From the information that we have, we have no doubt that the Obama administration initiated it, stood behind it, coordinated on the wording and demanded that it be passed,” Netanyahu said in a statement published in USA Today.

The Obama administration has denied responsibility.

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