My concerns last week that the US State Department might delay a vote on the Jordanian-sponsored UN Security Council resolution until after Israel’s March elections, so as to allow the resolution to pass, may have been somewhat overwrought. The Palestinian revisions to Jordan’s proposed resolution have been published, and those changes only make the resolution more, not less, objectionable.
The new third paragraph purports to “reaffirm” the Palestinian — and only Palestinian — right to a capital in East Jerusalem, and the sixth emphasizes the failure of most of the international community to recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. The revisions also add “prisoners” to the list of issues that must be “settled,” though, as I wrote last week, it is unclear how a UN mandate can force the two sides to come to agreement on any issue, especially while it encourages Palestinians to continue in the steadfast refusal to make any concessions at all. State Department Press Office Director Jeff Rathke confirmed in Monday’s press conference that the US continues to oppose this resolution.
The Reuters report, however, seems unsurprisingly detached from the reality of the proposal:
Arab U.N. delegations on Monday endorsed a Palestinian proposal to forge a peace deal with Israel within a year and end Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by late 2017, despite fierce Israeli and U.S. opposition.
Either these reporters did not actually read the draft resolution, or they are simply oblivious to its real-world implications. Imposing a withdrawal on Israel, regardless of whether Palestinians agree to a single security concession such as demilitarization, is not a formula for “peace.” Nor could handing the Israeli capital to an entity that has never in history exercised sovereignty over that city, and demanding that Israel absorb millions of descendants of the 1948 and 1967 refugees possibly be construed as peaceful overtures.
Update: The Reuters report on the British response to the proposal contains similar mischaracterizations. The inclusion in the proposal of obligatory conciliatory language simply does not negate the substance of it.
The Washington Post report is similarly clueless about the contents of the resolution, claiming that it calls for “a return to the borders before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.” In fact, nowhere does the draft resolution call for returning the West Bank, or any part of it, to, um, Jordan.
I can’t help but notice the irony that the proposed resolution purports to rely on UN Resolution 181, the 1947 resolution that, in addition to calling for partition, called for Jerusalem to be established as a separate, independent city under UN control. In calling for a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, the newly proposed resolution is in contravention of Resolution 181, and the proposal is now being supported by some of the very same state actors that ignored Resolution 181 in 1948 when they invaded Israel. Notably, the resolution has been propounded by the very same country that itself purported to annex East Jerusalem in 1950, again, in contravention of UN Resolution 181.