Will Russia veto the resolution to embarrass Obama?
Breitbart Ahead of a possible second attempt Friday to vote on a UN Security Council resolution declaring Israeli settlements illegal, Breitbart News sources speculated that Russia could use its veto to kill the measure, even if the United States would not.
BREAKING: US allows UN Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements as having 'no legal validity.'
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 23, 2016
Russia has traditionally backed anti-Israel measures, and generally supports the anti-Israel stance of the Arab nations. However, two Breitbart News sources suggested that Russia might use its veto, as one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, to embarrass U.S. President Barack Obama.
The Obama administration had signaled, for several weeks, that it would not issue the customary veto of the UN Security Council resolution, and that it would instead abstain, allowing the measure to pass. Such a move would destabilize the diplomatic status quo and likely lead the Palestinians to make more aggressive demands.
A senior Israeli official told Breitbart News via e-mail:
President Obama and Secretary Kerry are behind this shameful move against Israel at the UN. The US administration secretly cooked up with the Palestinians an extreme anti Israeli resolution behind Israel’s back which would be a tailwind for terror and boycotts and effectively make the Western Wall occupied Palestinian territory. President Obama could declare his willingness to veto this resolution in an instant but instead is pushing it.
As Breitbart News’ Aaron Klein noted, the Palestinian-backed resolution is rife with legal and factual errors, and would have the effect of isolating Israel; legitimizing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement; and weakening Israel’s bargaining position in peace talks, perhaps permanently.
On Thursday morning, President-elect Donald J. Trump had issued a strong statement urging Obama to veto the resolution, and also spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. He was widely credited with postponing the vote.
But after Egypt backed down, four other nations with temporary membership on the UN Security Council that expires next week — New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal — warned that they might introduce the resolution anyway on Friday if Egypt did not.
If the Obama administration persists with plans to let the resolution pass with at least nine votes in favor, it would fall to other permanent members of the UN Security Council to veto.
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton “President Obama is personally responsible for this anti-Israel resolution. His diplomats secretly coordinated the vote, yet he doesn’t even have the courage of his own convictions to vote for it. This cowardly, disgraceful action cements President Obama’s richly deserved legacy as the most anti-Israel president in American history.
“This resolution hurts the prospects for a secure and just peace by targeting Israel for building homes in Jerusalem, its own capital, while not specifically addressing Palestinian incitement of and financial support for terrorism.
That’s why President Obama vetoed a similar, but less anti-Israel resolution in 2011-back when he still needed pro-Israel voters for his reelection. Moreover, as a Security Council resolution with the imprimatur of the United States, this resolution surpasses even the infamous “Zionism is Racism” General Assembly resolution in its irrational obsession with the Jewish state.
Senators on both sides of the aisle pressure Obama to stop abstention by threatening to cut off US funding to the UN.
J Post Senator Chuck Schumer, set to lead Democrats in the upper chamber next year as Senate Minority Leader, has personally appealed to senior administration officials as recently as this morning. “An abstention is not good enough. The administration must veto this resolution.”
And Republican senators are threatening that an affirmative vote would force them to consider severe cuts in US aid to the international body. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a vocal critic of the Obama administration, said the resolution was an “outrage” and threatened any nation supporting it with a cut in its US financial aid.
“If the United Nations moves forward with the ill-conceived resolution, I will work to form a bipartisan coalition to suspend or significantly reduce United States assistance to the United Nations,” he added.