Five ways the Trump administration can negate the anti-Israel U.N. Security Council resolution

By Eugene Kontorovich, WaPo

The U.S. decision to allow a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements to pass was met with bipartisan condemnation, including from leading players in efforts to achieve a two-state solution, such as Democrats Dennis Ross and George Mitchell.

Of course, the goal of the Obama administration was to box in President-elect Donald Trump’s foreign policy. The most direct way to reject the Security Council Resolution 2334 is to reject the opinions it expresses and act against its recommendations. Trump will likely seek to reverse the measure, not only because of substantial policy disagreements, but to reject the notion that a president can bind his successors more tightly through U.N. action than through statutes or executive orders.

Trump cannot directly reverse the resolution, but he and Congress can take action to negate its ideas, and to create a different reality from the one Resolution 2334 seeks to promote. Here are some ideas — most of which require no legislative action.

1) The U.S. must clearly declare that Israeli settlements do not violate international law. The Security Council resolution says that Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem are illegal and that the Israeli government must prevent them. But the council is neither a legislature nor a court. It cannot create international law. But while Resolution 2334 is not binding, it does contribute to the formation of international legal opinion, which is why the United States must clearly articulate a contrary (and correct) view.

The Security Council’s broad and general condemnation of any Jewish presence whatsoever in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank is a unique rule invented for Israel. There has never been a prolonged belligerent occupation — from the U.S. occupation of West Berlin to Turkey’s ongoing occupation of Cyprus to Russia’s of Crimea — where the occupying power has blocked its citizens from living in the territory under its control. Moreover, neither the United Nations nor any other international body has ever suggested they must do so. What is being demanded of Israel in its historical homeland has never been demanded of any other state, and never will be.

Thus the United States must clearly state its position that whatever the political merits of Jewish settlements, they do not violate international law. President Jimmy Carter’s State Department issued a memo opining that settlements were illegal. President Ronald Reagan subsequently rejected this view. As Obama reenacts the tail end of the Carter presidency, Trump must adopt Reagan’s position, with greater emphasis and elaboration.

Going beyond executive policy statements, the constitutional role of defining offenses “against the Law of Nationsfalls to Congress, which can pass legislation making clear that Israel does not violate international law by permitting Jews to live in territories under its control, or by providing them with municipal services. This is already implicit in certain laws, such as the Jerusalem Embassy Act and the recent ban on enforcing foreign judgments against Israeli entities that are based on the view that doing business in Israeli-controlled territories is illegal. Congress can expand on this approach, and should explicitly invoke its offenses power in doing so.

2) The United States should move the embassy not merely to Jerusalem, but to the location of the current Consular Section in the Arnona neighborhood. This is a few hundred meters over the imaginary line across which the United Nations says Jews may not go. Moving the embassy there would be the most tangible rejection of the resolution’s “1967 lines” policy. It would also fulfill the Republican Party platform of moving the embassy to “indivisible” Jerusalem, and be in accordance with the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which calls for moving the embassy to a “unified” Jerusalem, i.e., including those parts which were reunified in 1967.

3) The United States must clarify that all its treaties or laws applicable to Israel apply fully to all areas under Israel’s civil jurisdiction. Congress already took this approach in the United States-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, as well as several recent anti-boycott laws. It must now be generalized, through legislation, presidential proclamations, and new codicils to existing treaties with Israel. For example, Trump could immediately rescind Treasury regulations that require Israel goods from the West Bank to be labeled “Made in West Bank,” and instead direct that they be labeled “Made in Israel,” in line with their underlying customs treatment.

Doing so would clearly reject the United Nations’ call for countries to adopt a differentiation policy. “Differentiation” is a European Union euphemism for partial boycotts. The United States must defy that suggestion, and by doing so it will make it much harder for the E.U. and others to follow it.

4) Congress should rapidly reintroduce and pass several anti-boycott bills from the outgoing session. In addition, to respond to Resolution 2334’s encouragement of E.U. boycotts aimed at the settlements — but which would inherently spill over to all of Israel — a small amendment must be made to the the anti-boycott provisions of the Export Administration Act, explicitly stating that it applies to boycotts of territories under Israeli jurisdiction.

5) At the United Nations, defunding is one option — but vetoing Security Council resolutions not clearly necessary to the U.S. national interest is another. Strictly applied, this practice would grind the council to a halt, as most of its resolutions merely wag fingers at ongoing conflicts.

Some resolutions reauthorize peacekeeping missions, and vetoing the August reauthorization of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) would be a valuable way of addressing both the United Nations’ ineffectiveness and its double standard toward Israel. UNIFIL was tasked with disarming Hezbollah in southern Lebanon by Security Council Resolution 1701 in 2006. A decade later, instead of disarmament, Hezbollah runs the country and has 100,000 missiles ready to “annihilate Israel.” Vetoing UNIFIL’s reauthorization would bring welcome accountability to peacekeeping missions, whose mandates get rolled over almost automatically, and would remove a force whose principle accomplishment is assisting Hezbollah.

January 2, 2017 | 19 Comments » | 168 views

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19 Comments / 19 Comments

  1. good article identifying specific remedies that can work
    cutting off all fed gov dealings with any nation, company or idividual boycotting Israel. Making it a crime in the US to deal with a boycotting nation or individual
    I like the one about vetoing all the other submissions not in direct US interest. Cut budget for any expense related to implementation by the UN.
    the best one is the US coming out in full support for any jewish settlement west of jordan river.

  2. An EU drone with footage of Jewish locations crashes on Mt Hebron
    DEBKAfile January 2, 2017, 10:25 PM (IDT)
    A drone owned by the European Union crashed on Mt Hebron Monday. It was found equipped with a video camera containing footage documenting Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, including IDF bases and facilities.

    How does Israel know if this info is not used by enemies to bomb those communities and military facilities. EU engaging in warfare against the Jews

  3. bernard ross Said:

    How does Israel know if this info is not used by enemies to bomb those communities and military facilities. EU engaging in warfare against the Jews

    I agree and where exactly was the drone launched from???? EU label insufficient designation ! what country owns and operated the drone? Consider the action an act of war…. Of course Israel will not act if it knows and I believe we know all the answers and more to the questions I raised.

  4. Don’t wait until August to veto UNIFIL! Great idea to prove the complete hypocrisy of UNSC.

    But why wait until August?

    I just read this elsewhere, and came here to share it. Interesting to move the US embassy to the Consulate that does straddle the 1949 ‘line’

    Meanwhile Schumer reveals plan to stonewall 8 Cabinet nominees, esp Tillerson, into March. Assume Kerry still has to stand down on Jan 20.

    Good thing no plan to stonewall General Mattis, or Nikki Haley, or Rick Perry.

    If only Hungary can take down Soros…

  5. I look forward to reading your columns..They are priceless..Hope Donald Trump reads them too. Real gems! Yasher Koach. My problem..Keep forgetting my passwords and don’t type well,and type slowly!!
    esther noodelman

  6. He’s wrong about the Reagan plan which while it doesn’t claim settlements are illegal declares his opposition:

    “…The United States will not support the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements during the transition period. Indeed, the immediate adoption of a settlement freeze by Israel, more than any other action, could create the confidence needed for wider participation in these talks. Further settlement activity is in no way necessary for the security of Israel and only diminishes the confidence of the Arabs and a final outcome can be freely and fairly negotiated.

    ‘I want to make the American position clearly understood: the purpose of this transition period is the peaceful and orderly transfer of domestic authority from Israel to the Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza. At the same time, such a transfer must not interfere with Israel’s security requirements. Beyond the transition period, as we look to the future of the West Bank and Gaza, it is clear to me that peace cannot be achieved by the formation of an independent Palestinian state in those territories. Nor is it achievable on the basis of Israeli sovereignty or permanent control over the West Bank and Gaza.

    ‘So the United States will not support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, and we will not support annexation or permanent control by Israel.

    ‘There is, however, another way to peace. The final status of these lands must, of course, be reached through the give-and-take of negotiations; but it is the firm view of the United States that self-government by the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza in association with Jordan offers the best chance for a durable, just and lasting peace.

    ‘We base our approach squarely on the principle that the Arab-Israeli conflict should be resolved through the negotiations involving an exchange of territory for peace. This exchange is enshrined in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which is, in turn, incorporated in all its parts in the Camp David agreements. U.N. Resolution 242 remains wholly valid as the foundation-stone of America’s Middle East peace effort.

    ‘It is the United States’ position that – in return for peace – the withdrawal provision of Resolution 242 applies to all fronts, including the West Bank and Gaza…”

    Reagan was no better than the others. This a*hole wanted to return Jewish land to the invading country that had just been defeated that had illegally occupied and ethnically cleansed it of Jews for 19 years. He wanted to give them Gaza too which had been occupied by Egypt. Jordan belongs to Israel too. It’s a compromise to allow any of these Arab gangsters to set foot out of Ryad (or Tunisia where the PLO had been languishing since the IDF and their Marionite Christian allies heroically booted them out from Lebanon.) OK, Reagan brought down the Soviet Union — though you wouldn’t know it for all the saber-rattling — like McCain gave us the “surge” which would have won if Obama hadn’t thrown it away after Bush gave him the gun to use by allowing the government we installed to have Sovereignty??????. Is that stupid, or what? In war-time?. Very nice. Pat Pat. Old News. Later for McCain. Later for Reagan. Later like never. Time to move on. Trump will be our “Reagan.”

    The foreign policies of past Presidents and of the international community since the U.N. was established, are irrelevant. These policies flew in the face of established international law. They were invalid, illegal. Why not just say so and be done with it. What’s needed is a legal revolution to restore things and people to their proper places. Though Bennett and Shaked are correct to advocate applying civil law to areas currently under military law rather than using the erroneous term annexation. You can’t “annex” your own land!

  7. @ Sebastien Zorn:
    I might add that Bolton recently voiced support for the Reagan Plan. While defending Israel, he nonetheless said the solution was to give Yesha to Jordan. I heard him say it. I’m glad he was rejected. I might however look with favor on him if he advocated giving California to Jordan. No, that’ s too mean. Even for me. “Islamafauxbia,” my foot.

    “Jordanians Protest Law Protecting Men Who Commit `Honor Killings’

    Aired February 14, 2000 – 6:27 p.m. ”

    “Third of teens in Amman, Jordan, condone honor killings, study says
    By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
    Updated 8:24 AM ET, Thu June 20, 2013”

    “Calls for action as ‘honour’ killings in Jordan show sharp increase
    As part of 16-day campaign against gender violence, activists demand stronger penalties for ‘honour’ crimes and an end to imprisonment of at-risk women”
    December 9, 2016

    And while we’re on the subject:

    February 18, 2010Inquiry & Analysis Series No.588
    ‘Honor Killings’ of Women in Palestinian Society

    By: C. Jacob*

    Nobody who really believes in “democracy” and “human rights” for actual , living, breathing individuals and knows the facts could believably support self-rule for Muslims anywhere. We must restore Western Colonial tutelage. It’s the most benevolent system of those available. To update Kipling, “It’s the Kaffir’s burden.” Ha Ha.

  8. Keep in mind the Biblical solution as defined in the Old Covenant. Zachariah 12 denotes the results or warns any nation who attempts to divide Jerusalem will be met there by G-d himself.

  9. Sebastien Zorn Said:

    he nonetheless said the solution was to give Yesha to Jordan

    From my point of view, we should extend sovereignty to Area C as proposed by Bennett. Then its either Sherman’s plan to compensate Arabs to emigrate or let them stay in Areas A and B with autonomy associated with Jordan. The latter approach saves us $300 billion, assuming the Israelis would ever vote for it, but the Arabs remain as our neighbours. I think it is worth it. And it is doable but must be done unilaterally.

  10. Sebastien Zorn Said:

    Reagan was no better than the others. This a*hole wanted to return Jewish land to the invading country that had just been defeated that had illegally occupied and ethnically cleansed it of Jews for 19 years.

    I agree, I dont know why anyone seeks to make some mythical hero of him. He was terrible for america too. He had interest rates over 20% and that bankrupted and lost the homes of many, he had to create the res trust co which was simply a way of transferring properities from the bankrupted poor to the rich at basemant prices, he deregulated the s& L’s which allowed the mafia to loot and bankrupt many of them too.. I know of this personally having dealt in business with them by accident, I was one of the very few to get paid by them.. they looted hundreds of millions on a national basis.. I personally saw them loot a cal s&l for 35 mil to “invest” in miami.. then they steal most of the loan and let it go under. They took a trucking co in cal for 90 mil ten years later… they owned banks and would issue amex cards and loot the cards in vegas
    not to mention iran contra,and pollard
    reagan was a stooge, cia bush was his handler

  11. I believe that Trump will put a stop to the ill treatment of Israel by UNCHR. He is already on record of saying he doesn’t like that Israel is unfairly treated.

  12. Ted Belman Said:

    I believe that Trump will put a stop to the ill treatment of Israel by UNCHR. He is already on record of saying he doesn’t like that Israel is unfairly treated.

    I think the problem will be the Israeli left and the entrenched civil service and high court. They are the ones who will seek to prevent Trump from doing anything positive for nationalists and Jews. Likud, BB and his appts are a big question as BB begged trump to support a TSS after trump said he was not married to a TSS… I havent seen anyone yet put that bizarre behavior to bed yet. I suppose that many think he is simply playing a game to stall obama…. we will finally see the conclusion of BB’s MO after the 20th. If Trump starts backing off things my conclusion will be that BB covertly asked him to back off them just as he and the GOI always covertly ask Congress NOT to cut off pal funds.
    will BB throw out and incarcerate illegal euro and pal builders?
    will he allow Jews to say the words “temple mount” on the temple mount as happened today?
    will he allow jews to massively build outside the euro/obama/kerry designatied ghetto boundaries of the major blocks?
    I dont think so, I think that everything he has done has no daylight with the foreign and leftist solution…giving them C with swaps.. giving them some sort of symbol in jerusalem, keeping military in valley for 5 to 10 years.
    what do jews in israel think of BB begging trump for the tss?
    BB did support the TSS so why be surprised?

  13. If Azariya is not acquitted, he should be pardoned

    Minister Naftali Bennet: “If Elor Azariya is not acquitted, I think he needs to be given an immediate pardon and not sit in prison.”

    on the basis of character and loyalty I would rather have azariya have my back than eisenkot and yaalon, who like obama would stab it.

    Bennet gets that. Bennet andd his party appears to me the best choice for PM at this time. He is for Israel and Jews not representing foreign interests. I think he would also be better in the diplomatic circle, more articulate and could present a perspective which would reduce the revenge murders of Jews globally by giving a reason not to call jews land thieves and illegal illegitimates. Plus he would not obstruct the reformation of the entrenched politicized High court.
    He also appears much more intelligent than BB although BB appears to be more wily and deceptive.

  14. @ Ted Belman:
    If they are “associated” with jordan, will the IDF be able to go in and root out terrorists, as they can now? It is only because Gaza and Judea and Samaria are in legal limbo that Israel can do that. In Sinai, Israel can do nothing without egyptian permission. And that’s just from a security point of view. Justice demands that Israel never permanently rule out reclaiming all of Eretz Israel. Ben Gurion said as much, even when he was willing to accept the now moot Partition Plan — never ratified, in any case, since the arabs rejected it. I propose applying civil law to Area C, placing the arab population of Judea and Samaria under military rule — as the arab population of Israel behind the green line was before 1967, I’m not sure exactly when it ended — encouraging them to leave, and working with the traditional clans in a consultative capacity to the Military Government. Self-rule is also bad for muslims, especially but not limited to women and children. They should be so lucky as to be ruled by Jews. And they secretly know it. That’s the real reason why the muslims in Jerusalem are noisiest in their opposition to being assigned to the PA, whatever nationalistic nonsense they spout as the reason. The only problem might be the courts. So, I would go along with whatever temporary concessions might be necessary to get them on board. Offering them increased jurisdiction is certainly a plum and would be hard for them to refuse. But security services must have a free hand. Needs to be worked out by the experts in such a way as not to preclude expansion and encouraging the arabs to leave.
    Also, remember, jordan is not an ally just because a cold peace (punctuated by ocassional threats and terror) is in effect for the moment. Territory relinquished is not easily recovered and can become a base for enemy operations at any time. Territory acquired must never under any circumstances be relinquished. That is the most important principle.

  15. @ Ted Belman:
    Accountable how? And to whom? And with what enforcement mechanism? And assuming the government doesn’t change or go to war. Isn’t the PA “responsible” for all of that? I recall reading somewhere: “There is no diplomatic solution.” I’m trying to think where. I know it will come to me. Hmmm. Somebody, help me out please. Tip of my tongue.

    This excellent article, though written about the Iran Deal, supports my argument in great detail with many relevant examples.

    July 27, 2015
    “An Agreement Is Only as Good as the Will to Enforce It”
    By Ted Belman

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