by Amb. Alan Baker
• The Palestinian leadership, having initiated the UN Security Council resolution regarding Israel's settlement policy, is celebrating its adoption on Dec. 23, 2016, as an affirmation of its claims against Israel.
• Israel sees this resolution as a major impediment to continued peace negotiations in light of the fact that it bypasses the negotiation process in an attempt to prejudge central issues that are on the negotiating table.
• The resolution (as all previous resolutions regarding Israel) was adopted under the sixth chapter of the UN Charter (Pacific Settlement of Disputes) and as such is not mandatory. Its determinations as to the lack of legal validity of Israel's settlements are no more than declaratory.
• Expressions not previously included in major Security Council resolutions regarding the peace process, such as "two-state solution based on the 1967 lines," as well as references to the "Arab Peace Initiative" and the "principle of land for peace" as additional bases for peace, clearly are intended to instill concepts that have never been agreed-upon elements in the negotiating process.
• The reference to the "4 June 1967 lines" as a basis for negotiations would appear to be a new element, running counter to the 1967 Security Council resolution 242, which is the basis for all of the Arab-Israeli peace process, which calls for negotiation of "secure and recognized boundaries." The Israeli-Palestinian Oslo Accords make no specific reference to the 1967 lines. As such this reference would appear to be an attempt to prejudge or unduly influence the negotiating issue of borders.
• The outrage voiced by Israel stems from five basic components:
1. The text of the resolution, which is unprecedented in the extent of the condemnatory language used.
2. Israel's frustration at the irresponsible behavior by the Obama administration.
3. The evident irreversibility of the resolution and the potential for future damage.
4. The imbalance between accusations of Israeli violations of the Oslo Accords and the Palestinians' blatant violations of international law in their incitement and payment to terrorists.
5. The issue of settlements is not the core of the conflict. It remains the Palestinians' refusal to recognize the Jewish State and its right to any part of the land west of the Jordan River.