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UN Resolution Condemns Israel, Glosses Over Palestinian Terrorism

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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A United Nations Security Council resolution passed Friday readily condemns Israel for its settlement building policies, but almost completely ignores Palestinian terrorism.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 condemns Israel, which it refers to as “the occupying power,” for its settlement policies in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Palestinian terrorism is never directly condemned, instead the resolution condemns “all acts of violence against civilians.” Much of the resolution focuses on Israel’s transgressions, while the Palestinian authority is only offered a reminder of its obligation to quell internal terrorism. The Palestinian Authority and Palestinian terrorist organizations are never once directly condemned, much less reprimanded.

The resolution begins by first “reaffirming” Israel of its obligations as an occupying power under the Geneva Conventions. It follows by “condemning” Israel’s policies “altering the composition” of the West Bank, including settlement expansion and destruction of Palestinian homes.

The resolution never directly accuses the Palestinians of engaging in terrorism, instead it condemns all acts of “violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as acts of provocation, incitement and destruction.”

Despite the vague condemnation and multiple references to Israel’s transgressions, Secretary of State John Kerry argued the resolution was fair in a speech Wednesday. He explained the Obama administration told the Security Council members prior to the vote that the U.S. would block the resolution using its veto power unless it was “balanced and fair.”

United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power would eventually abstain from the vote, allowing the resolution to pass.

“In the end, we did not agree with every word in this resolution,” said Kerry. There are important issues that are not sufficiently addressed or even addressed at all. But we could not in good conscience veto a resolution that condemns violence and incitement and reiterates what has been for a long time the overwhelming consensus and international view on settlements and calls for the parties to start taking constructive steps to advance the two-state solution on the ground.”

Like the resolution, a majority of Kerry’s speech was spent admonishing Israel as an impediment to a peaceful solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister responded to the speech Wednesday, referring to is as “a big disappointment.”

“He [Kerry] deals obsessively with the settlements, he fails to deal with the Palestinian failure to recognize a Jewish state,” said Netanyahu. “If he put the same emphasis on Palestinian incitement and terror that he did on settlements then maybe we will be on the way to peace.”

Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which currently governs the Gaza Strip, came out in favor of the resolution, despite the document’s general condemnation of incitement and violence.

Several key Republican and Democratic congressional leaders, including Sen. Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, criticized the administration’s abstention shortly after the vote.

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