Why is Kerry giving a major policy speech barely three weeks before the end of Obama’s term?
On Christmas Day I posted how It ain’t over yet – Israelis worried about more Obama UN moves.
In that post I detailed Israeli distrust of Obama administration motives and plans after the anti-Israel Resolution 2334 passed in the Security Council on December 23, 2016.
There is substantial accumulating evidence to back up Israeli accusations it has “ironclad” information that the U.S. was behind the Resolution. Denials by the Obama administration have been curiously worded, such as denying the U.S. “drafted” the Resolution; but that’s not an answer to claims the U.S. was behind and encouraged the Resolution.
A key read is an article by Israeli investigative journalist Barak Ravid who writes at Haaretz, Britain Pulled the Strings and Netanyahu Warned New Zealand It Was Declaring War: New Details on Israel’s Battle Against the UN Vote (try here if link doesn’t work):
The suspicion in Jerusalem is that the British had been working during all those days for the Americans to make sure the resolution was to U.S. President Barack Obama’s liking, but without the need to intervene directly in formulating it.
“We know how to read Security Council resolutions,” a senior Israeli diplomat says. “This is not a text that was formulated by the Palestinians or Egypt, but by a Western power.” Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, said in interviews with the American media on Monday that Israel had proof that the Obama administration was behind the resolution and had formulated it. It is not clear whether this was what he meant….
A few hours before the vote, the prime minister called Russian President Vladimir Putin and tried to persuade him. Just the day before, Israel had acceded to a Russian request and had absented itself from a vote in the UN General Assembly on a resolution regarding war crimes in Syria.
It is not entirely clear what happened in the conversation between Netanyahu and Putin, but less than an hour before the vote a real drama took place at the UN headquarters in New York. While the Security Council member-states were preparing their speeches ahead of the vote and the public discussion that was held immediately that was to follow, the Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin suddenly asked for a closed consultation.
A Western diplomat said that Churkin shocked the other ambassadors of the 14 Security Council member-states when he proposed postponing the vote until after Christmas. There had not been enough discussion on the wording of the resolution, Churkin claimed, and said he was surprised at the haste of some of the countries to hold a vote as quickly as possible. The deputy Russian ambassador to Israel, Alexy Drobinin, confirmed this in an interview with Army Radio on Tuesday morning.
Drobinin told Army Radio that Russia had objections to the timing of the resolution and that Russia’s representative in New York was the only one who asked to continue discussing it. Drobinin said it should be taken into consideration that a few weeks from now there would be a new administration in the United States, and that Russia was not satisfied with the way the resolution was brought to a vote. He said the problem was not the content, but the timing and the fact that the resolution related only to one out of the many core issues of the conflict.
But Churkin’s remarks fell on deaf ears. Most of the representatives at the meeting rejected them and demanded to move ahead on the vote as planned. A Western diplomat said that the Russian ambassador, who realized that he had not managed to garner support, backed down and summarized the consultation with a typically cynical remark about the proposal abandoned by Egypt – he said that never in his life had he seen so many people wanting to adopt an orphan so quickly.
The meeting ended, the ambassadors entered the Security Council chamber and a few minutes later they passed the resolution.
Those actions, at minimum, appear to have been sending signals through the British and others that the U.S. would not stand in the way assuming the wording was toned down from drafts circulated by the Palestinians. Coordination with New Zealand proved critical when Egypt dropped sponsorship, and pressure allegedly was put on Ukraine also. Russia, for its part, says it tried to delay a vote, but again U.S. pressure on other countries prevailed. There will be more on that in a later post.
The Israeli fear was that having passed Resolution 2334, Obama would then move to a Security Council resolution on the final status of the conflict, essentially imposing the U.S. view on the Israelis through the U.N.
The initial view was that John Kerry would give a speech at the Paris Peace Summit, which then quickly would be turned into a Summit communique and then a Security Council Resolution, to be voted on 2-3 days before Trump’s Inauguration.
The Obama administration has not ruled out further U.N. action, and Ben Rhodes, who is coordinating messaging for Obama (as he did on the Iran Nuclear Deal) evaded the question in an interview.
One possibility is that Kerry just wants to hear himself speak, in his delusion of grandeur. In that scenario, Kerry and Obama through Kerry just want to put out there what they think should happen. Perhaps then the Paris meeting will ratify that plan, without any UN action.
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) December 27, 2016
Or perhaps Kerry will make some major announcement that doesn’t require more action, such as a symbolic “recognition” of the “State of Palestine”.
But there is very little trust in Obama, considering how Resolution 2334 was sprung on the Israelis on almost no notice.
If Kerry’s speech is a key launching point, it appears that events are moving faster than expected. Kerry is not waiting for the Paris Summit, and will give his major policy speech tomorrow, December 28, at 11 a.m., live from the State Department.
— Department of State (@StateDept) December 27, 2016
Caroline Glick posted earlier today, when it was expected Kerry might even speak today, how she sees things playing out:
Here is what I think is a reasonable assessment of Obama’s likely timeline for action against Israel.
Today, December 27, 2016: John Kerry is scheduled to address the UN Security Council and lay out his blueprint for the establishment of a Palestinian state in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
January 15, 2017: Kerry participates in French President Hollande’s summit along with other leaders of the so called Quartet. The Quartet produces a document ratifying Kerry’s speech as a unanimous position.
January 16, 2017: Obama makes a speech for Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday. In his speech he merges Palestinian statehood with the civil rights movement and announces it is time for Palestine to be formally recognized.
January 17, 2017: The Security Council convenes to ratify the Quartet’s blueprint for Palestine as a Security Council resolution. The resolution will probably only speak of a process of bringing Palestine in as a full member in order to prevent automatic US defunding of the UN in accordance with standing US law requiring a funding cut-off in response to any UN recognition of Palestine.
January 20, 2017: Donald Trump is inaugurated and presented with Obama’s fait accompli.
Obama has without a doubt been lobbying the incoming members of the Security Council to support this program, just as he lobbied the current members to support last Friday’s resolution.
The only person who can derail this operation is Donald Trump.
I don’t trust Obama either. I predicted several years ago and repeatedly since then, that when he was freed of any electoral concerns, he would seek to impose his view of a final status agreement on the Israelis.
Obama has a narrow window. Now that the presidential election is over, he has no concerns about hurting Democrats this election cycle. Yet he has precious little time left in his term. It’s now or never for Obama, and the Israelis.DONATE
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