JERUSALEM — As CNN’s Stephen Collinson reported earlier today, it’s Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu against the world.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) is also unhappy. Why? Because the United Nations Security Council voted yesterday, 14-0, with the United States bravely abstaining, to condemn Israel and its leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for launching yet more efforts to establish settlements on the West Bank. So the senior senator from the Palmetto State wants the Congress of the United States to stop funding the United Nations. And Netanyahu's thinking of cutting Israeli funding of the UN as well.
Applause broke out in the chambers of the 15-member Security Council after the vote, which was proposed by New Zealand and Senegal, among other sensible nations. Israel’s ambassador, Danny Danon, denounced the vote and castigated the council members who had approved it.
Explaining the US decision to abstain, US Ambassador Samantha Power quoted from a 1982 statement from then-president Ronald Reagan, which declared that Washington “will not support the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements. That has been the policy of every administration, Republican and Democratic, since before President Reagan all the way through to the present day.” Settlement activity, she added, “harms the viability of a negotiated two-state outcome and erodes prospects for peace and stability in the region.”
Ben Rhodes, Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser, robustly supported Power. “Since 2009,” Rhodes said, “the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank has increased by more than 100,000 to nearly 400,000. The notion that vetoing this resolution would have somehow slowed the settlement activity flies in the face of any piece of evidence that anybody who is looking at the facts can see.”
Given that Trump had been furiously pressuring President Obama to veto the resolution which passed yesterday, Rhodes patiently and repeatedly reminded reporters that during the transition between Bush Two and Obama, Obama plainly stated on numerous occasions, “We have only one president at a time.”
Yesterday at the UN, Netanyahu’s ambassador, Danny Danon, sarcastically wondered out loud whether France would be prohibited, under the logic of the resolution passed yesterday at the UN, to do what it wishes with respect to the Eiffel Tower. Danon’s analogy, of course, is way off the mark, as Israeli claims to the West Bank are based on its interpretations of the Hebrew Bible, but the Eiffel Tower, a mere celebration of iron, has never had any religious significance.
But Netanyahu is still really, really p’d at Obama, and he cannot wait until January 21, when Trump may or may not be able to persuade the Senate to confirm his nominee for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, his bankruptcy lawyer. Friedman has vociferously opposed the two-state solution, which is the only practicable, sensible way of possibly achieving peace between Palestine and Israel, and between Israel and the Muslim world. Friedman’s adamant opposition to the two-state solution is bankrupt per se.
So, as Netanyahu sat stewing in his office at his nation's Atomic Energy Commission, he ruminated for a few nanoseconds before saying to associate solitary reporter Jeremiah Weitzmann, who covers Israel for us, “You know, Jeremiah, France voted for that resolution that passed yesterday in the Security Council, because France is a permanent member there.”
“So what would you think about me ordering General Aluf Amir Eshel, my Air Force Commander, to send one of our drones, maybe our Tadiran Mastiff, to take out the Eiffel Tower?”
Swiftly, Weitzmann, a long-term employee of this apocryphal newspaper, texted French President François Hollande, unbeknownst to Netanyahu, to alert him to Netanyahu’s plan, and Hollande immediately told André Lanata, the commanding general of the French Air Force, to intercept Netanyahu’s Tadiran Mastiff.
Which is why Israel, today, lost one of its most precious drones.
And Lindsey Graham won’t get his wish to defund the American contribution to the UN, even though Trump and the third Mrs. Trump would like to raze the UN and put yet another Trump casino there.