Sunday, 1 January 2017

New Zealand, Venezuela, Senegal and Malaysia reject US president-elect Trump's aggressive meddling in sensitive business before the UN Security Council

A taste of resistance to come or will Donald John Trump manage to successfully bully the UN Security Council once he is sworn in as US president?

United Nations Security Council, 7853RD MEETING, 23 December 2016, meeting coverage:

14 Delegations in Favour of Resolution 2334 (2016) as United States Abstains

The Security Council reaffirmed this afternoon that Israel's establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders.

Adopting resolution 2334 (2016) by 14 votes, with the United States abstaining, the Council reiterated its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.  It underlined that it would not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the two sides through negotiations.

The Council called for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction.  It further called for the strengthening of ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including through existing security coordination, and to clearly condemn all acts of terrorism.  The Council called on both sides to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric in order to de-escalate the situation on the ground and rebuild trust and confidence.

Also by the text, the Council called on all parties to continue to exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final-status issues in the Middle East peace process, and within the time frame specified by the Middle East Quartet (European Union, Russian Federation, United Nations, United States) in its statement of 21 September 2010.  It called upon all States to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.

Explaining her delegation's abstention, the representative of the United States said it had been a long-standing position of her country that settlements undermined Israel's security and eroded prospects for peace and stability.  She emphasized, however, that her vote today had not been straightforward.  Explaining that Israel had been treated differently from other States for as long as it had been a member of the United Nations, she noted that during the course of 2016, 18 resolutions adopted in the General Assembly and others in the Human Rights Council had all condemned Israel.  It was because of that bias that the United States had not voted in favour of the resolution, she said, emphasizing that her delegation would not have let the resolution pass had it not addressed terrorism and incitement to violence…….

Full article here.

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on adoption of Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016)

The Secretary-General welcomes the adoption by the Security Council of Resolution 2334 (2016) on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. The resolution is a significant step, demonstrating the Council's much needed leadership and the international community's collective efforts to reconfirm that the vision of two States is still achievable.

​​The Secretary-General takes this opportunity to encourage Israeli and Palestinian leaders to work with the international community to create a conducive environment for a return to meaningful negotiations.

​​The United Nations stands ready to support all concerned parties in achieving this goal.

The Security Council vote on the measure passed 14 to 0, with the United States as the lone abstention.

The New York Times, 23 December 2016:

UNITED NATIONS — Defying extraordinary pressure from President-elect Donald J. Trump and furious lobbying by Israel, the Obama administration on Friday allowed the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution that condemned Israeli settlement construction.

The administration's decision not to veto the measure reflected its accumulated frustration over Israeli settlements. The American abstention on the vote also broke a longstanding policy of shielding Israel from action at the United Nations that described the settlements as illegal.

While the resolution is not expected to have any practical impact on the ground, it is regarded as a major rebuff to Israel, one that could increase its isolation over the paralyzed peace process with Israel's Palestinian neighbors,….

The vote came a day after Mr. Trump personally intervened to keep the measure, which had been originally proposed by Egypt, from coming up for a vote on Thursday, as scheduled. Mr. Trump's aides said he had spoken to Mr. Netanyahu. Both men also spoke to the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Egypt postponed the vote under what that country's United Nations ambassador called intense pressure.

But in a show of mounting exasperation, four other countries on the Security Council — Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela — all of them relatively powerless temporary members with rotating two-year seats, snatched the resolution away from Egypt and put it up for a vote Friday…..

Mr. Trump's comments on the resolution amounted to his most direct intervention on United States foreign policy during his transition to power. Minutes after the Security Council vote was announced, Mr. Trump made his anger known in a Twitter posting, saying: "As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th."

The Independent UK, 25 December 2016:

Defending New Zealand's vote on Saturday, the country's Foreign Minister Murray McCully said: "We have been very open about our view that the [UN Security Council] should be doing more to support the Middle East peace process and the position we adopted today is totally in line with our long established policy on the Palestinian question.

i24 News, 25 December 2016:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday said that the United Nations Security Council's passing of a resolution condemning Israel's settlement activities was a "clear statement by the world" and sets forth the "legal basics" for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Speaking at a Christmas event in Bethlehem, Abbas said the UN's decision is a "clear statement by the world according to which the settlement enterprise in the territories occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, are illegitimate enterprise."

"The voting in favor of the resolution hasn’t resolved the Palestinian cause, but defined it," Abbas was quoted by the official Palestinian WAFA news agency. "The resolution stressed the legal basics for a solution and reiterated that Israeli settlement is illegal."

The Hill, 26 December 2016:

The move prompted widespread backlash against Obama from Republicans and Democrats alike.
It also infuriated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who already has a shaky relationship with Obama.  Netanyahu accused the United States of “colluding” with the United Nations in secret and summoned the U.S. ambassador on Sunday.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 December 2016:

Wellington: Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu personally phoned New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully to warn him a UN resolution co-sponsored by the country was a "declaration of war," according to a report….
In the aftermath, Israel has withdrawn its ambassador to New Zealand, barred New Zealand's ambassador to Israel, and warned of further sanctions.

According to media reports Israel has refused to recognize resolution 2334 and has recalled it ambassadors to 10 member countries on the 15 member UN Security Council. Israel apparently does not have formal diplomatic representation in either Malaysia or Venezuela, but it appears that the remaining eight non-permanent member countries are minus Israeli ambassadors at the moment and some have allegedly had Israeli aid withdrawn.

Typically, monosllyabic president-elect Donald Trump takes no responsibility for the results of his politically improper backroom intervention and tweeted:


U.N. Security Council Draft Resolution 2334 (2016) on the Middle East Peace Process, co-sponsored by New Zealand, Venezuela, Senegal and Malaysia:


and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly (with end of term date):
Angola (2016)
Egypt (2017)
Japan (2017)
Malaysia (2016)
New Zealand (2016)
Senegal (2017)
Spain (2016)
Ukraine (2017)
Uruguay (2017)

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