Friday, December 23, 2016


The decision of the United States to abstain on the UN Security Council resolution critical of Israel is understandably being presented as a milestone in the US stance on the Israel-Palestine question, and the associated "outrage" gives Fox News and related outlets a nice glide path into Christmas. But does the Israeli government actually care as much as it says it does? Here's a press release on the Kremlin website --

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu at the Israeli side's initiative. The two leaders continued to exchange views on the current situation in the Middle East and reaffirmed their readiness to further actively cooperate in the fight against terrorism.

So on the eve of what's been presented as a new low in UN-Israel relations, Bibi wasn't on the phone to Washington looking to get anything resolved; instead he was talking to Vladimir Putin, who also has a UN Security Council veto, about general regional issues. If the passage of this resolution was really such a concern for Israel, he could have asked Putin to veto it.

The episode looks much more like the typical sound and fury, signifying nothing. Meanwhile Bethlehem will have its one-day spotlight looking very unrepresentative of the daily lives of West Bank residents.

Merry Christmas.

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