How the U.S. Can Repudiate the Recent UN Resolution on Israel

January 3, 2017 | Abraham Sofaer
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Although the recent Security Council resolution condemning Israel—unlike those produced by other UN organs—has actual legal force, the next American president has the ability to limit its damage, as Abraham Sofaer argues:

[Donald Trump, once] president, can repudiate any international agreement. . . . He should thus inform the UN secretary-general before his first [required report on Resolution 2334] on March 23, 2017, that the U.S. repudiates the resolution—that the U.S. will veto any effort to enforce its conclusions. He should also seek legislation imposing trade sanctions on states that rely on the resolution to discriminate against Israel, as the U.S. did successfully against the Arab boycott.

Sofaer also refutes the claim of Obama administration officials, and their defenders in the media, who insist that the American decision not to veto the resolution is consistent with established policy:

Ambassador Samantha Power claimed U.S. presidents [including Ronald Reagan] have all been against expanding settlements. But no administration has ever supported calling all Israeli settlements “flagrant violations of international law,” not even the Obama administration, which vetoed a similar resolution in 2011.

President Reagan regarded the settlements as “legal,” and most other presidents have refrained from relying on inapposite principles of international law, shunning such ineffective hectoring. No administration has ever claimed Israel, as an “occupying power” during “war” must treat Palestine as a state. . . .

The abstention, in short, was a shameful act openly touted as punishment for Israel’s failure to abide by a U.S. policy that set back the prospects of peace. The Trump administration must repudiate Resolution 2334 in order to preserve the possibility of a two-state solution, by recognizing that Israel’s settlements are not an obstacle to peace if peace were genuinely pursued.

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