The following interview, “UN Resolution Opposing Israeli Settlements is ‘Too Little Too Late’,” was published on January 28 2017 by Fars News and is reprinted here.
On December 23, 2016, the United States withheld its veto, allowing United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 to pass by a vote of 14 to 0.
The resolution demands “that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem” and comply with its legal obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits an occupying power from transferring parts of its own occupation into the territories it occupies.
The resolution further states that Israel’s settlements have no legal validity and it condemns “all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status” of the occupied Palestinian lands.
The Israeli government responded by calling Resolution 2334 “shameful” and made clear it has no intention of complying with its provisions.
With the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States, political analysts across the world do not believe that Resolution 2334 reflects American objectives for Israel and the Palestinian people.
Richard Forer, the author of Breakthrough: Transforming Fear into Compassion – A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict, is a former member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC wields tremendous influence within the halls of the U.S. Congress where it shamelessly promotes Israeli policy. Forer believes that like his predecessors Obama’s reluctance to confront AIPAC allowed Israel to “make a mockery of the democratic values and human rights” that the United States was founded upon. Forer also believes that Israel has always put the seizure of Palestinian land ahead of a fair peace with the Palestinian people.
In an exclusive interview with Fars News, he discussed the passage of UN resolution 2334 and Obama’s decision to abstain. Below is the text of the interview.
Q: UN Resolution 2334 passed because the Obama administration abstained from using its veto power. How do you assess the US decision to abstain?
A: The Obama Administration’s decision to abstain from vetoing UN resolution 2334, which condemns Israel’s illegal colonization of the Palestinian West Bank, is a feeble attempt to convince the Jewish state to come to its senses and comply, at long last, with international law. It is President Obama’s parting shot at an Israeli government that he – and anyone who has actually studied the issue – knows has had no intention of making a fair peace with its Palestinian subjects. Resolution 2334 is too little too late.
Like virtually all US administrations before his, Obama’s paid the usual lip service to democratic values and human rights while simultaneously allowing Israel and its American proxies, such as AIPAC and virtually all of Congress, to make a mockery of those values and rights. With his term about to expire, Obama’s long overdue act of conscience can hardly repair the eight years during which he did little to stop Israel’s heartless theft of Palestinian land for Jewish only settlements and its creation of facts on the ground intended to obstruct any two-state solution.
Q: In his remarks following passage of Resolution 2334, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, connected 2334 to his country’s effort to save the two-state solution. Did you find his speech to be sincere?
A: Kerry’s speech, in which he criticized Israel’s obstructionism, was sincere but he ought to have delivered it years ago. Unfortunately, knowing how the Israeli government and AIPAC would have reacted and how the U.S. Congress would have followed along, Kerry (and Obama) refrained from delivering remarks such as Kerry’s until the tail end of Obama’s term in office. Had Kerry’s remarks been delivered by any ranking administration official at the beginning of Obama’s term it would have had far more effect than it could possibly have today.
Q: Now that Donald Trump is president, how do you regard the future of US-Israel relations?
A: For one thing, the Trump administration has not only signaled it has no intention of acknowledging 2334, it has hinted that it might agree to Israel’s annexation of Area C of the West Bank. For another, as I’ve already alluded to, the reluctance of American governments, past and present, to enter into the political pandemonium Zionist entities such as AIPAC and its congressional sycophants would spark if Israel were held accountable under international law has emboldened Israel to flaunt its territorial ambitions and contempt for peace.
One day, after Israel has seized as much of the land it deems practicable and has ethnically cleansed as many Palestinians as possible, it will grudgingly grant the remaining population a greater degree of autonomy and allow a demilitarized and quasi-Palestinian state to exist on non-contiguous Bantustans or Native American-like reservations in the parts of the West Bank known as Areas A and B. When this comes to pass, the state of Israel will have added at least 65% of the West Bank to the 78% of historic Palestine it now calls its homeland. The Palestinians will be left with approximately 7% of their ancestral homeland.
Q: Do you see a chance to bring about the changes envisioned by UN resolution 2334?
Any change envisioned by 2334 is impossible if the United States allows Israel and its American lobby (AIPAC) to dictate what policies the executive branch and Congress must follow. The one potentially positive consequence of 2334 is that the International Criminal Court at The Hague (ICC) will be more willing to move forward with an investigation and prosecution of Israel’s probable war crimes and crimes against humanity. In 2015 the ICC made clear that it needed UN Security Council guidance before it could tackle this subject. The investigation is expected to focus on Israel’s violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which was adopted in 1949 in response to Nazi atrocities. Israel is a signatory to this Convention. Justice, the possible outcome of the ICC’s prosecution, is what Israeli leaders fear the most. However, I do not exclude the possibility that by contracting out its dirty work to the US Congress and Trump administration, the Israeli government and AIPAC could put so many roadblocks in the way of the ICC that Israel will, as it always has, escape responsibility for its decades of disruptive and infantile behavior.