To the editor: While most of the world might consider Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories illegal, the U.S. government, as reflected in its policy for the past 35 years, does not. President Obama’s allowing of a United Nations Security Council resolution declaring the settlements illegal to pass highlights eight years of his failed foreign policy. (“U.S. declines to veto U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement building,” Dec. 23)
As U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power cast her abstention vote, she pointed out the absurd bias of the U.N. toward Israel, noting that 18 General Assembly resolutions were adopted against it in September alone, exceeding those focused on Iran, Syria, North Korea and Sudan combined.
It is high time the conflicting parties solve their differences at the negotiating table with the help of sincere surrogates who want to see a peaceful two-state solution, without the meddling of the United Nations.
Pauline Regev, Santa Monica
The abstention is consistent with U.S. and international law. The decision is supported by virtually all major human and civil rights organizations, including Jewish ones. We have indulged Israel on this issue for decades, with no discernible positive result.
The recent threats and antipathy directed toward our president concerning the vote should be publicly condemned.
David Habib, Westlake Village
To the editor: The Obama administration’s last-gasp effort to promote a two-state solution by abandoning Israel at the United Nations rests essentially on a fantasy. It simply presumes that Hamas, which rules in Gaza, and Fatah, which governs the Palestinian territory on the West Bank, will suddenly join forces and create a unified entity once Israeli settlements are removed.
That presumption ignores Palestinian rejections of prior proposals, most prominently at Camp David with President Clinton. It also ignores the current reality that there already is a Palestinian state in Gaza, where President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority is hardly welcome. Realistic policy discussions must relate to a three-state outcome.
Ignoring past outcomes and current realities hardly serves as a sound basis for abandoning an ally.
William Comanor, Santa Barbara
Netanyahu knows full well that the settlements are illegal, so he resorts to immature pouting. It is to our shame that he has gotten away for so long haranguing our leaders and meddling in our political affairs.
Obama should be congratulated for doing what should have been done years ago. By his refusal to be intimidated, he has defended the rule of law, refused to countenance the confiscation of other people’s property and defended the Palestinian people’s right to their own state. He is the only mature statesman in all this.
Peter O’Reilly, Claremont