(Denver, Colorado) — It was deeply disappointing (though unfortunately not surprising) that on the eve of Hanukkah and Christmas, President Obama helped an anti-Israel resolution pass in the United Nations Security Council on Friday.
The final vote was essentially unanimous — 14 nations in favor, while the U.S. officially abstained. But in this case the “abstention” was cosmetic. Mr. Obama supported this move. If he hadn’t, he would have done what American Presidents historically do when facing resolutions against the Jewish State: veto it.
In the days ahead, I will provide more detailed analysis.
For now, it’s important to note that this is not simply the meaningless act of UN diplomats blowing hot air. This resolution actually puts the State of Israel, our leaders, our citizens and businesses who work with and trade with us in very serious legal jeopardy.
Like many Evangelicals, I want there to be a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. But I don’t believe a solution should be mandated — much less forced — by the world on Israel. There should be direct talks between both sides. The talks should be serious and constructive and should lead to the end of the conflict and real protection of Israel’s rights and security needs balanced with real protection for Palestinian human rights and civil rights and security needs.
Unilateral UN decisions are not helpful, and in this case could prove counter-productive.
I’m not worried, nor should you be. The Scriptures make clear that the God of Israel will keep us and protect us and He neither slumbers nor sleeps. He is sovereign and good and on the job 24/7 and we can trust Him. That said, we need to be wise and thus aware of the practical implications of this move.
- The resolution makes Israeli citizens that are involved in the settlement enterprise in the West Bank vulnerable to lawsuits in courts all over the world.
- Jerusalem is also worried that the resolution opens the door for lawsuits against Israeli officials at the ICC: government ministers and senior IDF officers who make decisions about construction in the settlements, the demolition of Palestinian homes, or the expropriation of lands could be accused of war crimes under the Geneva Convention.
- The resolution can also lead to the creation of mechanisms to monitor and report Israeli actions, which could lead to sanctions being imposed against it.
- The resolution’s wording can also be seen as a victory to the BDS Movement, as it opens the door for boycotts of goods produced in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
- The resolution includes an article requiring the UN secretary-general to report to the Security Council every three months regarding its implementation. This will lead to continued pressure on Israel, putting it in a constant defensive position, similar to South Africa during the apartheid regime.
- Article 5 of the resolution calls to create a distinction between the State of Israel and the settlements built on lands captured in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War.
- This article calls on the international community not to aid those settlements and allows for countries and organizations to boycott the settlement enterprise—either directly or indirectly.
- Officials in Jerusalem are worried such a call would encourage the European Union to make its policy of labeling settlement products into law and call for a boycott these products.
- Such a move would lead banks, gas stations, HMOs, retailers, high-tech companies and others to close their branches beyond Green Line to avoid being included in the “blacklist” of companies doing business in the settlements and consequently being boycotted as a result.
- Officials in Jerusalem are also worried that other nations in the world will follow in the footsteps of the European Union—even if not by boycotting the settlements, then at least by labeling settlement products.
- Nevertheless, the resolution cannot be applied retroactively and has no immediate practical consequences. Since it was adopted under Chapter 6 of the United Nations Charter, it cannot be forced on Israel. Only resolutions passed under Chapter 7 can be imposed.