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“Disturbing Signs Obama will Pull U.S. Veto Support of Israel”
by Kade Hawkins   
October 6th, 2015

Speculation has been building that President Barack Obama is considering abandoning the longstanding U.S. policy of protecting Israel at the UN with the power of the veto. The U.S. typically uses its veto power to put down any anti-Israel resolutions or Palestinian attempts at reaching statehood through the U.N. 

However, with peace talks at a standstill for almost a year the US is being pressured by other international powers to either abstain or even vote in favor of a resolution that would see the laying out of terms for a two-state solution based on Israel's 1967 borders, something Jerusalem opposes.

Such a signicant reversal in policy appears to have been gaining momentum since the Obama administration demonstrated outright hostility for the Israeli Prime Minister after he won elections in March.

The President has made it clear that US policy was being re-evaluated earlier this year when he said that "the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, along with the conditions Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has set for establishing a Palestinian state, have made it harder for the United States to continue defending Israel at the United Nations against European initiatives". 

Bloomburg News reports that "Robert Malley, the Middle East director for President Barack Obama’s National Security Council, told at least one European nation that the administration is more willing than it has ever been to work on a Security Council resolution defining the parameters for a Mid-East peace agreement".

Such talk would confirm why Obama recently went so far as to rebuff his own close congressional ally, Senate Minority leader Harry Reid, on this matter. Reid reportedly submitted at least two requests for Obama to commit to exercising the United States' veto power at the U.N. Security Council. 

Both requests were apparently ignored. Reid's motive was ironically not to help Israel, but to simply rally Democratic support towards supporting the Iran nuclear deal, based on the assurance that Israel would still remain protected by the U.S.

Furthermore, in what many are calling "a slap in the face" of the Israeli Prime Minister, President Obama called out U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power from the assembly into a video conference, right before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the United Nations General Assembly in which he famously stared down the delegates in silence for 45 seconds.

This effectively ensured that the most senior US representation was absent during Netanyahu's speech to the U.N. The motive seemed to be to demonstrate a thinly veiled spite for Netanyahu and the Israeli positions, both in regards to Iran's Obama-supported nuclear ambitions and the two-state solution proposal.

The US appears to want to focus on the Iran-nuclear accord for the time being and as such there is talk John Kerry actually declined an opportunity to get the two sides together at the recent UN gathering. Despite Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declaring that his government was no longer bound by any agreements with Israel, including the Oslo accords, the US knows it is the power of the veto holding back world pressure on Israel. 

Adopting a UN resolution makes very little sense if both sides have not come to any type of agreement... unless the US is willing to put its political weight behind such a move. This could involve cutting aid to Israel or even allowing certain types of sanctions (European nations are currently pushing for sanction like labeling of products made in the West Bank).

At the moment there is not enough political capital for Obama to risk moving forward with such actions. However, one misstep by Israel may give Obama the opening he needs to change the face of US-Israeli relations forever.

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