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UN Security Council In Rare Moment Of Clarity


un2UN passes resolution condemning Israel’s settlement construction

by James O’Neill*

Christmas Eve delivered a rare moment of international support for the Palestinian people and passed a resolution (2334) condemning the long-standing Israeli practice of progressively encroaching upon Palestinian land for the purposes of Israeli only settlements.

For the first time in the eight years of the Obama administration, the United States did not exercise its veto in the Security Council to protect Israel from condemnation by the Security Council.

The Council resolution was forthright.  It condemned “all measures altering the demographic composition, character, and status of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfers of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians in violation of international humanitarian law….”

The resolution reaffirmed that the Israeli settlements on Palestinian land “has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”  The Council saw the violations as a major obstacle to “the achievement of the two State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

The resolution was welcome on a number of fronts.  First, as noted, it was passed without the United States exercising its customary veto in support of the Israeli government.  This clearly came as a surprise to the Israeli government, and their spokesmen were quick to condemn the resolution as an “obstacle” to the two State solution.

The Israeli government manifestly has no intention of implementing a two State solution.  No serious observer accepts the sincerity of the ritual obeisance made to that solution.  After nearly 50 years the opportunity of demonstrating an actual commitment to any such intention has long passed.

Secondly, the Israeli government not only condemned the resolution, they announced that they had no intention of implementing it.  This only served to confirm, if any confirmation were needed, that Israeli never had any intention of implementing a two State solution.  Its defiance of the Security Council and of international law continues to mark it as one of the major international outlaws.

Israel has consistently thumbed its nose at its legal obligations as a State, including but not limited to, the attack on Egypt in 1956; its 20 year occupation of Southern Lebanon until Hezbollah forced its retreat; the continuing occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights since 1967 and recent steps on that territory to issue leases for oil and gas exploration (to a company linked to News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch); the assassination of Iranian scientists; and the blockade of Gaza.

The resolution was flawed however, in maintaining the fiction that a two State solution was desirable or even possible.   What little land left on the West Bank and in Gaza could not realistically form the basis of an independent viable State.

The irony of the situation is that it is the actions of the Israeli government over the past 50 years that have rendered a two State solution impossible.

The Israeli government, and their loyal supporters such as the United States and Australia, the latter almost invariably casting its UN vote in support of Israel, (along with such world powers as the Marshall Islands and Palau), cannot be unaware of that reality.  To continue lip service to a two State solution is therefore nothing but rank hypocrisy.

That leaves a rather stark alternative.  Either steps are taken to implement a single, preferably secular State in which all Palestinians and Israeli Jews have equal rights, or to continue the slow motion strangulation of the Palestinian people.

Under the latter option, Palestinian land will be progressively stolen, as it has since the inception of the Israeli State, its people disenfranchised, and continuing resistance will be met with State sanctioned violence.

Israel is unlikely to accept the former solution although it is the only viable one consistent with the human rights of the Palestinian people.  A country that builds a massive apartheid wall (never shown on Australian TV), murders women and children on flimsy pretexts, and completely ignores international law is never going to voluntarily share power.

A faint ray of alternative hope is found in the Security Council’s resolution to seek three monthly reports on the implementation of the resolution.  Whether that will have any practical effect will depend heavily upon the attitude of the incoming Trump administration.  Trump’s appointment of a rabid Zionist as his next ambassador to Israel, and other unfortunate comments, does not augur well.

The other, even remoter possibility is that the International Criminal Court will deviate from its pursuit of sundry African dictators and actually pursue Israeli leaders for their continuing criminality.

Those expecting any positive Australian government support for the UN Security Council’s resolution and the Palestinian people may also have to wait.

*Barrister at Law.  He may be contacted at joneill@qldbar.asn.au



  1. I commend Bob Carr’s article in the smh Dec 22nd page 18.
    [Former NSW Premier and Australian Foreign Minister]
    Presume for a moment that Governor Phillip arrived yesterday in Australia and he and his colonialists decided to take over indigenious lands and survival needs, by force and stealing land and natural resources for more foreign settlers.
    How would our Israel apologists in Australia react to the aboriginal plight with any concern for the aboriginal community’s future?

  2. James, back around 1980 when I had already attained the age of 30-something, and still living in the US, I learned that the US had nay-sayed “most” General Assembly resolutions, with the vote often being 167 nations FOR, and dear old US, El Salvador, and Israel AGAINST.

    As I was a reader of the Boston Globe (choke, choke) you would think I read it there, but oh no. The public, including me, never knew that amazing fact. We also did not know that “our” ratification of the HR covenants were so filled with reservations that they may have been construed as non-ratified.

    So where did I read it? Possibly in The Nation, which was very radical in those days. It set me off on quite a journey. Someday let’s discuss R John Vincents’s book on “Human Rights and Diplomacy” (not the exact title). I think John was killed for publishing it, as he was an up-and-coming scholar at Oxford “and we can’t have that.”

    • Mary, nearly all Security Council resolutions have been vetoed by the US when they were critical of Israel. In the General Assembly there are typically 140 or so in favour of motions critical of Israel, around 40 abstentions and 5–6 against. Again typically, they were the US, Israel, Australia, Nauru, and the Marshall Islands. It is one f the great shames of Australian foreign policy, yet with almost no coverage in the Oz msm.
      John Quigley has published a book (January 2016) on the history of Israel joining the UN. The Israelis undertook, as a condition of membership, to do the right thing by the Palestinians, abide by the UN Charter, and comply with international law, they have failed miserably with all three. One could make a good case for kicking them out of the UN except a few others, including the US, would also qualify for expulsion.

      • Pacta sunt servanda numquam.

        James, I was wanting to say “Treaties are to be kept – sometimes.” But just to be sure that numquam meant “sometimes” I asked Google.
        Up came: Numquam ubi sub ubi. “Never wear underwear.” Let me assure you that at my all-girls school the way we learned it was Semper ubi sub ubi.

        Enough of that. Thank you for the stats which are pretty mortifying for Oz, tho’ for Nauru it only shows the meaning of “point man.” Oh, I guess for Oz, too. “White man can be point man.” Funny, Canada is not in on this game.

        For the record I want to clarify that I was referring only to GA not SC. And I wasn’t referring particularly to reso’s that had to do with the subject of Iz.

        As far as the SC veto was concerned, we Yanks got mis-taught about that one also — and this silly thinking continued right up thru my PhD training in Adelaide, which was before the fall of the wall.

        Oh God — “wall” — I don’t mean the one in Palestine. Oh God. Think about it!

        I am saying we were taught that OF COURSE the good guys wanted everything that was sweet and kind, but the USSR, those horrible Commies, would reach into their veto-carrybag every time and PREVENT US FROM BEING BEAUTIFUL AND HUMANE.

        I hereby confess I fell for it.

      • Seems that Australia should be kicked out as well.
        Then again, that would be a God send for Australia, we can tell the UN to go stuff their UN agenda 21 and bring back Australian sovereignty……. by kicking out the Rothshilds banking fraud as well.

  3. At this website we are pretty aware of certain things that go on in Canberra. It is all very pathetic and reprehensible, but that can’t be the end of the story.

    We need to counteract this insane takeover of our society. It is happening before our very eyes at a rapid pace.

    Any suggestions as to how to make a plan to offer to people? It is not enough that everyone disapproves of what is happening. There has to be something on offer.

    How to get young folks interested? It’s their future more than ours.

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