U.N. Headache For ObamaFebruary 17, 2011 - 5:31 PM | by: Ben Evansky
The Obama administration is expected to face a stern challenge of its foreign policy at the United Nations Security Council Friday if a draft resolution is voted on by members of the council. The Palestinian and Lebanese sponsored draft resolution condemns “the continuation of settlement activities by Israel, the occupying power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem…” It furthermore calls for all construction to be stopped.
Over the years the U.S. has almost always vetoed anti-Israel resolutions at the Security Council but ever-since President Obama took power there have been reports that his administration could change course.
The administration had offered a last minute compromise to the Palestinians which according to reports would have seen it support a non-binding statement condemning Israeli settlement activity in return for the Palestinians dropping the resolution. The Palestinians refused the offer choosing to go ahead with the vote.
Earlier today Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters that President Obama had called Palestinian President Abbas to discuss the peace process and broader regional issues. Clinton would not be drawn on specifics but reports suggest he asked Abbas to drop the impending vote. Clinton responding to questions said the U.S. is committed to a peaceful two-state solution and that Security Council resolutions “are not the right vehicle to advance that goal.”
U.N. analyst Nile Gardiner who is the Director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. tells Fox News that if a draft resolution does come to a vote he would expect the U.S. to veto it. He says “the U.S. should veto a resolution that is critical of Israel and an abstention could be construed as a sign of implicit support of the resolution.” He says “It’s important that Washington stands by its allies rather than adopt a wishy washy policy of neutrality. President Obama should not be sitting on the fence when it comes to defending a close friend of America.”
As of time of publishing U.N. sources tell Fox News that negotiations were still underway among delegations to see if the Palestinians could be persuaded to drop their resolution and move to a Presidential Statement.