Palestinian Islamic Jihad is, as its name suggests, an organization committed to jihad — against Israel most urgently, though not exclusively. So when the U.N. Security Council on Friday passed a resolution condemning Israel, PIJ spokesman Dawood Shihab was pleased. He called it a “victory.” He wasn’t wrong.
Nor was Fawzy Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, another organization openly committed to Israel’s extermination, as well as to “a jihadi revolution” that will be a “prelude to the establishment of the future Islamic caliphate.” He called the resolution an “important evolution in international positions.” He expressed Hamas’ “appreciation.”
Most deserving of their gratitude is Barack Obama who decided to spend his last days in office playing golf in Hawaii and throwing America’s most reliable ally to the wolves at the U.N., an organization that exhibits passivity when it comes to the ongoing carnage in Syria, the genocide of Christians, Yazidis and other minorities in the broader Middle East, the conflict in Yemen, failing states — the list goes on and on.
The U.N. does, however, expend considerable energy railing against the world’s only Jewish state, a tiny democratic nation on the front lines of the war against radical Islam, a war the West is fighting in only the most desultory fashion. This year alone, the U.N. General Assembly passed 20 resolutions censuring Israel, compared to one against Iran and none against Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Venezuela and China. With assistance from President Obama, who instructed his ambassador not to veto Resolution 2334, the Security Council has now piled on as well.
For decades, Democrats and Republicans have agreed that it would be “unwise” to give the Security Council the responsibility “to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians.” Those words were spoken by Susan Rice, Mr. Obama’s first ambassador to the U.N., when, following his instructions in 2011, she blocked a similar resolution. But back then Mr. Obama still had one more presidential election to win so antagonizing Israel’s supporters may have seemed ill-advised.
Perhaps that’s unfair. Perhaps Mr. Obama sincerely believes that a two-state solution could be achieved if only Israel would withdraw from the “occupied territories.” If so, he’s ignoring both history and experience. Start with the fact that Arab, Muslim and Palestinian leaders first rejected a two-state solution back in 1948 — almost a generation before Israelis took possession of the West Bank and Gaza.
Those lands fell to Israel as a consequence of the 1967 war, one of several attempts by Israel’s neighbors to drive the despised Jews into the sea. It was from Jordan and Egypt respectively that Israel took those territories. Palestinians had never governed them.
But that led to a bright idea: Why not trade land for peace with the Palestinians? With President Bill Clinton serving as honest broker, specific offers were put on the table in 2000 and then again in 2001. Another offer was proffered in 2008. Palestinian leaders turned them down. They made no counteroffers.
In 2005, an experiment was conducted: Israelis withdrew from one of the occupied territories. Within two years, Hamas was firmly in charge of Gaza from which it began launching missiles at Israeli villages. Israelis learned a lesson.
The “international community” did not. On the contrary, President Obama and the U.N. Security Council have just told the Israelis that they envision a land-for-peace deal that omits the peace part.
Meanwhile, on the West Bank, only thanks to Israel’s military and intelligence presence (read: occupation) does Fatah maintain its hold on power. Mahmoud Abbas, who leads both Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, is no wild-eyed jihadi. But, he, too, refuses to acknowledge the right of Jews to self-determination in any part of their ancient homeland.
Resolution 2334 demands nothing of Palestinians. Its definition of “occupied territory” is extreme, including even the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. Conquered in 1949 by Jordan’s Arab Legion, it was then “cleansed” of Jews. Synagogues and cemeteries were destroyed. Jewish holy places were desecrated. The U.N., of course, did nothing.
Look at the map: Across North Africa and the Middle East, from Morocco to Pakistan, there is only one state not ruled by Muslims, only one in which minorities — ethnic, religious, sexual — are guaranteed basic human rights. The dream of PIJ, Hamas, the Islamic State, the Islamic Republic of Iran and other Islamic revolutionaries is to destroy that exceptional state, to incorporate it into a new empire — an empire that, over time, is to expand well beyond the region.
Mr. Obama has now encouraged that dream. That will be his legacy. And he still has a few weeks left to do more damage. I wouldn’t put it past him.
The day before the U.N. vote, President-elect Trump stated what President Obama once claimed to believe, that “peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations.” After the vote, he added: “As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th.”
His nominee for ambassador, David Friedman, has proposed moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That would be an appropriate response to this latest provocation.
Among the additional measures Mr. Trump will consider: dramatically reducing American funding for the U.N. Like other transnational progressives, Mr. Obama regards the U.N. as a proto-global government. Mr. Trump, an anti-globalist, does not.
It will be useful for him to emphasize that so long as he’s in the White House, America’s sovereignty will not be surrendered to transnational organizations, America’s tax dollars will not be squandered on transnational organizations, America’s enemies will not be rewarded and America’s allies will be abused no longer.
• Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a columnist for the Washington Times.