Minutes after the Obama administration abstained from a crucial U.N. Security Council resolution vote on Israel condemning settlement activity, the collective jaw of the sole democracy in the Middle East dropped.
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“Imagine that just a day before Christmas Eve and Hannukah, President Obama was busy not trying to help innocent Syrians who are getting murdered in Aleppo, or dealing with the emergency humanitarian crisis, but instead was working to undermine Israel,” said Danny Ayalon former Israeli Ambassador to the United States.
In a FOX Business exclusive interview Christmas Eve in Jerusalem, Ayalon, who served as ambassador to the U.S. from 2002 to 2006, told FBN that the abstention is particularly stunning considering other, more pressing global issues have taken center stage.
“You’ve got a million killed in Syria, a brutal, autocratic regime in Iran.
You have (Turkish President) Erdogan arresting justices, terror in Libya, the Russians invading Ukraine, taking Crimea, and no resolutions against any of them.
“There’s one yardstick for Israel. Another for the rest of the world.”
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Ayalon said what’s perhaps most shocking is the U.S.’s change in tone toward the Jewish nation that, since 1948, has fought off numerous attacks by Arab nations. From Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton, never has an American president taken such a sharp turn away from Israel. Ayalon says during his own entire stint as Israeli ambassador to the United States, President George W. Bush always made it clear that he and America stood with and for Israel. What’s ironic, Ayalon told FBN, is that President-elect Donald Trump, who intervened Thursday and successfully convinced the Egyptians who had floated the original resolution to back down, may very well win at the Middle East peace game that has been so elusive to Barack Obama.
“Israelis believe that finally we have a U.S. president who not only keeps his promises and is very smart but is also is someone who thinks outside of the box. (Trump) may have a better chance than any president in the last 40 years to bring both sides together. If the Palestinians and the Arabs understand that he will not bend on (the settlement) thing, and if they don’t accept that, he’ll refuse to back down on things like moving the embassy to Jerusalem.
If they come to their senses, they will want to cut a deal before things like the embassy issue become irreversible. Then you might have a new reality in the region.”
Mollie Hemingway, Senior Editor of the Federalist told FOX News the Obama administration is playing a dangerous game by abstaining on the vote which was eventually brought by New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela after the Egyptians were prompted by Trump to abandon the resolution.
“This is moral cowardice on behalf of the U.S. and gives Palestinians false hope. In just a few weeks (when President-elect Trump is sworn in) policy will revert to what it has always been in the U.S.”
Democrats from Sherrod Brown of Ohio to New York’s Chuck Schumer rushed to side with Israel.
"Whatever one’s views are on settlements, anyone who cares about the future of Israel and peace in the region knows that the UN, with its one sidedness, is exactly the wrong forum to bring about peace," Schumer said. "An abstention is not good enough. The administration must veto this resolution."
Former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz issued a statement saying, “I condemn this reckless abstention” while the Obama Administration pushed back. “Settlement construction puts a two-state solution at risk,” Ben Rhodes, deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, told the Jerusalem Post in a phone interview.
What is perhaps one of the most unusual developments since the Thursday night passage of Resolution 2334 is that Arab sources and intelligence reportedly informed Israel that the U.S. worked behind Israel’s back, drafting and promoting the anti-Israel resolution. While there’s no official evidence of such dealings, Republican members of Congress led by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are now demanding discussions be opened to defund the United Nations. The United States’ funding pays an outsized 22% of the UN’s budget.
As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu moved quickly to call back Israeli Ambassadors from the resolution’s promoting countries of New Zealand and Senegal, Ayalon says Israelis are searching for the reason President Obama made such a controversial, anti-Israel move.
“I think he wanted to leave the legacy that he is the guy who pushed the 2-state solution and be that guy who stood up to Israel. He’ll then become a celebrity in Europe and be invited to give speeches for thousands of dollars. That’s his motivation.”