It seems that Donald Trump now wants to coach President Barack Obama on foreign policy issues related to the biggest diplomatic quagmire in the Middle East.
NBC News reports that, on Thursday, Trump called for the Obama administration to veto a U.N. resolution against Israel regarding its settlement policies.
Trump’s interference represents a remarkable break in protocol between transitioning administrations.
While it may not be unusual for a president-elect to disagree with a sitting president’s positions, it’s highly irregular and unprofessional for a future president to make statements that undermine the current president’s authority in sensitive areas such as foreign policy.
The draft resolution was distributed by Egypt on Wednesday and is scheduled for a vote on Thursday.
The resolution calls for Israel to cease building settlements in the West Bank and officially announces that existing settlements have “no legal validity.”
However, in his infinite “wisdom,” Trump saw fit to use his world famous diplomatic tweeting skills once again to demand that President Obama vetos the measure, complaining that the resolution “puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”
As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations.
The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed….cont: https://t.co/s8rXKKZNF1
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016
Here’s the full Facebook post.
Coincidentally, Trump’s remarks came just hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also petitioned the U.S. to veto the resolution, labeling it “anti-Israel.”
For the resolution to pass, it would require nine affirmative votes and no votes by the U.S. or one of the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security Council which includes: China, France Russia, and the United Kingdom.
While there are varying opinions regarding the legality of Israel’s settlements, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, their actions represent a breach of the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
From the ICRC:
When a territory is placed under the authority of a hostile army, the rules of international humanitarian law dealing with occupation apply. Occupation confers certain rights and obligations on the occupying power.
Prohibited actions include forcibly transferring protected persons from the occupied territories to the territory of the occupying power.
It is unlawful under the Fourth Geneva Convention for an occupying power to transfer parts of its own population into the territory it occupies. This means that international humanitarian law prohibits the establishment of settlements, as these are a form of population transfer into occupied territory. Any measure designed to expand or consolidate settlements is also illegal. Confiscation of land to build or expand settlements is similarly prohibited.
And while many have labeled the occupation of the West Bank as “Israeli apartheid,” famed linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky stated in a 2014 interview with Democracy Now! that the problem is much worse:
In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid. To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by “apartheid” you mean South African-style apartheid. What’s happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse.
There’s a crucial difference. The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. … The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison.
A milestone in the protracted conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people took place during the 1948 Palestine war.
During the war, Israel stands accused of implementing a policy of “ethnic cleansing” which many argue continues to this day.
The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, a pro-Palestine advocacy group, claims that Israel created its current majority 1948 by destroying approximately 500 small Palestinian towns and displacing over 700,000 Palestinians out of their rightful homeland.
They also argue that “ethnic cleansing continues today in the form of expulsions and Jewish-only settlements.”
The website Itisaprtheid.org lists numerous unfair Israeli statutes that favor Jewish citizens over Palestinians. In fact, according to the site, “Palestinian identity is not recognized in Israeli law or society: Palestinians are referred to as Arab Israelis.”
Under Israeli rule, Palestinians have fewer rights regarding land ownership. And there are multiple accounts of Palestinian families having their homes confiscated and given to Israeli settlers by the government for dubious reasons.
Take the story of Nabil Al-Kurd, a Palestinian man living with his family in Israel’s West Bank near Jerusalem. Al-Kurd told the International Business Times the strange and heartbreaking story of how he and his family were forced to share their house with a Jewish family in 2009 by the Israeli government. Al-Kurd explained:
Over 10 years ago I expanded my house, in order to live more comfortably with my wife and sons. But I did it without a building permit, as it had been difficult to get one.
So, as soon as work was finished, an Israeli court fined me, stating also that I hadn’t paid the rent for 30 years. So the judge confiscated the new construction and later entrusted it to the settlers.
Just imagine if the federal government tried to force a U.S. citizen to share their home with another family. This type of injustice is typical in Israel.
And it seems that public relations between Israelis toward Palestinians have only gotten worse. According to Salon, there is a growing anti-Arab sentiment among the majority of Jewish citizens.
In a study by the Pew Research Center, a leading polling agency, residents were asked whether “Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel.” According to the study, 48 percent of Jewish Israelis stated they agreed or strongly agreed.
Almost three-fourths (72 percent) of Jewish Israelis who identified as right-wing (which is 37 percent of the Jewish Israeli population) supported expelling Arab Israelis, along with 37 of Jewish Israelis who identified as centrist (55 percent of the Jewish Israeli population) and 10 percent of Jewish Israelis who identified as left-wing (8 percent of the Jewish Israeli population).
It’s clear that Donald Trump has either never bothered to investigate or simply doesn’t care about any information that casts Israel in a less than righteous light.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu enjoys making his new ignorant American puppet dance; that is, when he’s not being used by Putin.