UN Resolution Condemning Israel: "Et tu, Barack?"

by LT. COLONEL JAMES G. ZUMWALT, USMC (RET) January 6, 2017

On March 15, 44 BC, Roman emperor Julius Ceasar, surrounded by a group of 60 senators, was repeatedly stabbed. Initially resisting his assassins, a crestfallen Ceasar saw among them a good friend, Brutus Albinus. Disbelieving, he uttered as his last words, "Et tu, Brute (you too, Brutus)?"

More than two millennia later, the expression still signifies the utmost, unexpected betrayal by a friend.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may well have uttered a version of this expression last month when the U.S. failed to exercise its veto-as it normally does-to prevent the U.N. Security Council from passing a resolution condemning Israel's settlements inside Palestinian territories.  By abstaining from the U.N. vote, President Barack Obama stabbed our loyal friend, Israel, in the back allowing it to pass.

For Ceasar, it was the knife of Brutus that cut deeply; unknown was whether Brutus suffered guilt from his betrayal. As Israel's betrayal obviously was part of Obama's long-term plan, it is doubtful he did.

The rationale behind the last minute execution of Obama's treachery-a month before he leaves office-is simplified by following the money.

Theoretically, at no point during his own presidential campaigns or in the 2016 campaign would Obama have concern over revealing his true intentions to abandon Israel out of fear of losing Jewish American votes. After all, overwhelmingly liberal Jews only represent two percent of the Democratic voting block. But what did concern him was losing their donations. That two percent Jewish vote translated into nearly two-thirds of all the Party's financial contributions!

Others have been bloodied by Obama's treachery, including liberal Democrat Alan Dershowitz whose judgment has long been respected by American Jews.  He twice supported Obama's election after receiving personal assurances, "I will always have Israel's back." It was a hollow promise Obama repeated to others as well.

Dershowitz now recognizes he was duped, causing him to mislead Obama contributors. It was this Obama promise for which Dewshowitz threw his support to Obama over a true friend of Israel, 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Dershowitz now believes Obama's U.N. maneuverings have compromised Israel as never before. Despite Jews having inhabited the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem for nearly 3000 years, Israel is now left without claim to its holiest sites-the Western Wall, Temple Mount and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Obama's concern over losing future Jewish American donations caused him to resort to a tactic he effectively used previously to deceive the American public. His foreign policy guru Ben Rhodes boasted, after securing a nuclear deal with Iran, Team Obama lied it was negotiating with moderates. It had always been negotiating with hardliners-which explains, after the fact, why the deal was so one-sided in Tehran's favor.

Thus, when asked who choreographed the effort for our U.N. abstention, Team Obama lied again, denying responsibility. An angry Netanyahu points to evidence suggesting otherwise.

Egypt initially had spearheaded the resolution, until President-elect Donald Trump, at Netanyahu's request, intervened to ask Cairo to withdraw its support. Egypt complied, but was then replaced by other sponsors.

It was an Egyptian newspaper that subsequently published a transcript of a meeting occurring between U.S. and Palestinian Authority (PA) officials before the vote.  In it, the U.S. discretely promises its cooperation to the PA. Participants allegedly included Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and two PA representatives.

The White House claims the meeting never happened. Whether the transcript is "fake news" or not, remains to be determined. Regardless of what else may or may not have been said, however, the U.S. abstention has denied Israel a rightful negotiating chip by allowing passage of a resolution condemning its Palestinian settlements.

Obama could not have abandoned Israel at a worse time. As per the laws of the Palestinian National Authority, general elections were to be held in 2009. They were not as a conflict erupted between the two controlling parties-the terrorist group Hamas and, what today is, a divided Fatah Party, headed by Mahmoud Abbas. In 2009, Abbas agreed to remain as PA president until the next general election could be held. His authority, however, is only recognized in the West Bank while Hamas' control is recognized in Gaza.

If general elections were held today, Abbas would lose, solidifying power under Hamas. Despite this, he boasts 2017 will be the "year of international recognition of the State of Palestine" under a unified Fatah. This is doubtful as signs of a Fatah split-one side supporting Hamas; the other Abbas-have developed. As if Israeli negotiators did not have their hands full focusing on two different Palestinian positions, they may soon have to deal with three. Of course two of them-Hamas and its Fatah sub-faction ally-will share a common interest-i.e., nothing less than Israel's total destruction.

Secretary of State John Kerry lectured the Israelis that because of their continuing construction of new settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, "the two-state solution is now in serious jeopardy."

Interestingly, Kerry fails to criticize the one-state solution Hamas consistently favors by seeking Israel's total destruction.

As Hamas and the two Fatah sub-groups clash for control, none wants to appear weak in the face of Israeli demands. With pressure not to negotiate with Israel now intensified as Obama placed an Israeli negotiating chip on the Palestinian side of the table, reasonable negotiation by any Palestinian group just became much less likely. 

When the PA refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, the international community should be undertaking every effort to dislodge it from such an outrageous position, into a more conciliatory and reasonable one. The U.S. abstention does nothing to move the ball forward in this direction. In fact, now that the Palestinians smell Israeli blood, it will only deeper entrench them into their positions.

With Obama's betrayal, the Israelis now know they can count on no one but themselves!

Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of "Bare Feet, Iron Will--Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields," "Living the Juche Lie: North Korea's Kim Dynasty" and "Doomsday: Iran--The Clock is Ticking." He frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.


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