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RTS: Analysis: U.N. rebukes of Israel permitted in U.S. policy shift


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Is this a real policy shift or just a signal to Israel that a policy shift could occur. I can't tell yet.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6570SP20100608

Analysis: U.N. rebukes of Israel permitted in U.S. policy shift

(Reuters) - Under President Barack Obama, the United States no longer provides Israel with automatic support at the United Nations where the Jewish state faces a constant barrage of criticism and condemnation.

The subtle but noticeable shift in the U.S. approach to its Middle East ally comes amid what some analysts describe as one of the most serious crises in U.S.-Israeli relations in years.

Under Obama, the United States seeks to reclaim its role as an impartial Middle East peace broker which critics say it lost during the previous administration of George W. Bush.

"Israel became used to unconditional support of the United States during eight years of the Bush administration," said Marina Ottaway, director of the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

She said Bush's "extreme position" makes even mild criticism appear dramatic to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet.

However, Washington continues to block what it sees as efforts to use the United Nations as a forum for bashing Israel -- which one U.S. official told Reuters was "nine out of 10 initiatives regarding Israel in New York."

Obama has also pushed hard to get a fourth round of U.N. Security Council sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program, which Israel sees as its top security threats. A vote on new Iran sanctions is expected this week.

"There have been slight changes (in U.S.-Israeli ties), but they've caused a disproportionate reaction on the part of Israel," said Ottaway. "We haven't seen any drastic changes."

Last week the United States backed a Security Council statement on Israel's commando raid on an aid flotilla that tried to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. Nine people on one of the ships were killed in the action.

The statement regretted the loss of life and demanded a "prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards.

Washington, U.N. diplomats and U.S. officials said, worked hard to dilute the text so the 15-nation council did not call for an independent investigation and to ensure it did not explicitly criticize Israel.

UNITED NATIONS "LYNCH MOB"?

Israel was still unhappy with the statement and its supporters accused Obama of abandoning the Jewish state.

In an article called "Joining the jackals," Elliott Abrams, who advised two Republican administrations and is now at the Council on Foreign Relations, accused Obama of exposing Israel to a virtual U.N. "lynch mob."

"The White House did not wish to stand with Israel against this mob because it does not have a policy of solidarity with Israel," Abrams said. "Rather, its policy is one of distancing and pressure."

Abrams also criticized the White House over the recent five-year review conference of signatories to the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that Israel, like nuclear-armed Pakistan and India, has never signed.

Washington backed a call for a 2012 meeting of all countries in the Middle East to discuss making the region a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction -- a plan originally proposed by Egypt with Arab backing to add pressure on Israel to give up its nuclear weapons.

After allowing it to pass, the U.S. delegation criticized the NPT final declaration for "singling out" Israel, which neither confirms nor denies having atomic weapons.

This statement did not satisfy commentators like Abrams, who said Obama had "abandoned Israel in the U.N. and in the NPT conference in the course of one week."

Some analysts say Washington wants to improve ties with Arab nations and regain lost status as a neutral peace arbiter while being careful not to alienate pro-Israel voters.

"During the George W. Bush years, Washington's automatic siding with Israel on any issue seriously eroded what had been America's long-standing posture as an honest broker in the Middle East," said Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

.......

see link for more.

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Israel should be forced to stop the blockade. The UN should be forced to implement it.

That is part of their charter right? Not allowing 5 or 6 or more countries funneling in weapons to attack a single country?

AND ensuring Palestine is okay seeing as they LITERALLY created this.

I couldn't find the UN rebuke of North Korea of the killing of the South Koreans..

Bing must not be up to date ;).

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It would be healthier for both Israel and the U.S. if the U.S. returned to an ally status from the lover status it enjoyed recently. Israel should not be immune from criticism and the U.S. can be an ally without endorsing and standing behind every Israeli decision. When Israel screws up a good ally should tell them so and even differ from them when it is warranted.

Israel is also better served with the U.S. in the arbiter role if the U.S. doesn't seem completely beholden. It's very difficult to trust your arbiter if you are seen as in bed with one and issuing a restraining order against the other.

That's not to say we shouldn't have a strong and firm commitment to supporting Israel. I think we should, but we ought to retain enough objectivity and slack to call them out and change policy when it best suits us.

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It would be healthier for both Israel and the U.S. if the U.S. returned to an ally status from the lover status it enjoyed recently. Israel should not be immune from criticism and the U.S. can be an ally without endorsing and standing behind every Israeli decision. When Israel screws up a good ally should tell them so and even differ from them when it is warranted.

Israel is also better served with the U.S. in the arbiter role if the U.S. doesn't seem completely beholden. It's very difficult to trust your arbiter if you are seen as in bed with one and issuing a restraining order against the other.

That's not to say we shouldn't have a strong and firm commitment to supporting Israel. I think we should, but we ought to retain enough objectivity and slack to call them out and change policy when it best suits us.

^Pretty much sums up my thoughts.

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Why are we even involved in that mess? We have massive domestic issues to deal with at the moment. Israel is not the 51st state of the union and frankly... who the hell cares what the UN says? I'm sure Israel can cope with strongly worded letters.

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Israel should be forced to stop the blockade. The UN should be forced to implement it.

That is part of their charter right? Not allowing 5 or 6 or more countries funneling in weapons to attack a single country?

AND ensuring Palestine is okay seeing as they LITERALLY created this.

I couldn't find the UN rebuke of North Korea of the killing of the South Koreans..

Bing must not be up to date ;).

If I'm Israel, no way in Dallas would I trust the UN with the job of keeping weapons out of Gaza. (Granted, if I'm Israel, I probably wouldn't trust the US. And I certainly wouldn't trust anybody else.)

Considering the UN's track record on neutrality towards Israel, and their competence, I don't know which one I'd trust less.

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If I'm Israel, no way in Dallas would I trust the UN with the job of keeping weapons out of Gaza. (Granted, if I'm Israel, I probably wouldn't trust the US. And I certainly wouldn't trust anybody else.)

Considering the UN's track record on neutrality towards Israel, and their competence, I don't know which one I'd trust less.

Israel actually is willing to seed to the UN a lot of their Palistinian baby sitting jobs. Israel certainly doesn't want to put troops in Gaza anylonger if she can help it. If competent countries commit to the UN for Troops Israel would likely be fine with the UN taking over some safeguarding there. Israel and the UN haven't faired that well with third world troops.

Problem is the UN only posts troops if both antagonists don't object. Hamas isn't likely to want UN Troops.

The original article is interesting. I think it's bunk though. If this really were a US policy shift it would be rather earth shaking. The fact that this "shift" came out in the middle of the week and was kind of slipped into the news briefing, says to me it's not real. It's likely just showing Israel the stick, it's a threat, and a very week threat at that. When you claim in the same article the policy of sheilding Israel will continue, it's kind of telegraphying the administration has no will to take heat for this policy.

And heat the administration would recieve if they allowed critical resolutions of Israel through the UN.

However, Washington continues to block what it sees as efforts to use the United Nations as a forum for bashing Israel -- which one U.S. official told Reuters was "nine out of 10 initiatives regarding Israel in New York

Heck it's US policy that 10-10 initiatives regarding Israel are unhelpful and bashing.. That's why we consistantly block them.

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It would be healthier for both Israel and the U.S. if the U.S. returned to an ally status from the lover status it enjoyed recently. Israel should not be immune from criticism and the U.S. can be an ally without endorsing and standing behind every Israeli decision. When Israel screws up a good ally should tell them so and even differ from them when it is warranted.

Israel is also better served with the U.S. in the arbiter role if the U.S. doesn't seem completely beholden. It's very difficult to trust your arbiter if you are seen as in bed with one and issuing a restraining order against the other.

That's not to say we shouldn't have a strong and firm commitment to supporting Israel. I think we should, but we ought to retain enough objectivity and slack to call them out and change policy when it best suits us.

I think you pretty well nailed it.

If my best friend that I have known for over thirty years screws up, I would call him out and vice versa. Everyone needs to be held accountable if they err.

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Just wrote this to someone else in a PM, but I think it may be pertinent here.

I hope that Israel can become the state that we dream of, but it's not all incumbant on them. It really is hard to be threatened and beat repeatedly and keep it from affecting your temper and judgement. I do believe that the Israelis and Palestinians have impaired judgement at the moment. They are suffering from crazy. The question is, will it be possible for them to overcome "crazy" It's a long rehab. Look at the U.S. with racism. It's taken 200 years and we're not there yet even though we've taken many important, mighty strides.

Is the role of the U.S. or UN arbitor, peace keeper, therapist? All of the above? None of the above?

It really depends. As stated above, Israel can't be treated as above reproach. It isn't healthy. It oughtn't be demonized either as many are wont to do. I think the best role for the U.S. is friend and ally, but not lover and sycophant.

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Well here is the first report I've read of the US supporting such a UN Resolution.

http://weeklystandard.com/blogs/sources-obama-administration-support-anti-israel-resolution-un-next-week

Sources: Obama Administration to Support Anti-Israel Resolution at UN Next Week

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned that senior Obama administration officials have been telling foreign governments that the administration intends to support an effort next week at the United Nations to set up an independent commission, under UN auspices, to investigate Israel's behavior in the Gaza flotilla incident. The White House has apparently shrugged off concerns from elsewhere in the U.S. government that a) this is an extraordinary singling out of Israel, since all kinds of much worse incidents happen around the world without spurring UN investigations; B) that the investigation will be one-sided, focusing entirely on Israeli behavior and not on Turkey or on Hamas; and c) that this sets a terrible precedent for outside investigations of incidents involving U.S. troops or intelligence operatives as we conduct our own war on terror.

While UN Ambassador Susan Rice is reported to have played an important role in pushing for U.S. support of a UN investigation, the decision is, one official stressed, of course the president's. The government of Israel has been consulting with the U.S. government on its own Israeli investigative panel, to be led by a retired supreme court justice, that would include respected international participants, including one from the U.S. But the Obama administration is reportedly saying that such a “kosher panel” is not good enough to satisfy the international community, or the Obama White House.

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Just wait till APAIC here's that...

I agree... Also this article comes from "the Weekly Standard" which is a very conservative even anti Obama publication... Why would they be breaking the story?

I have a hard time believing Obama want's a fight with Israel and her legion of supporters now when he's fighting a natural disaster in the gulf, interum elections on the horizon, and he's still trying to push for some of his own agenda like Finance reform, energy reform, and systemic econmic change legislation.

Still, if he does it, I think it would be a ballsy move.

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If I'm Israel, no way in Dallas would I trust the UN with the job of keeping weapons out of Gaza. (Granted, if I'm Israel, I probably wouldn't trust the US. And I certainly wouldn't trust anybody else.)

Considering the UN's track record on neutrality towards Israel, and their competence, I don't know which one I'd trust less.

I agree, Larry. People on ES will foolishly claim that the UN is fair when it comes to dealing with Israel.

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Came out yesterday the United Nations and Israel agreed to change border agents and blockade from Israeli's to the UN troops.

So far Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan will volunteer 10,000 troops each.

Iran has volunteered the ships and personnel for the blockade.

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