The BBC’s Barbara Plett– who famously shed tears over Yasser Arafat’s final departure from Ramallah in 2004– reports from the UN that the Obama administration’s veto of a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank “risks angering Arab peoples at a time of mass street protests in the Middle East.”
As commenter Mattg ironically notes: “This is all about Israel. The guy in Libya who hasn’t been paid for 6 weeks is really pXXd off about Israeli settlements.”
As for the US veto, Jeffrey Goldberg makes some good points:
1) All of you who tell me, when I’m giving speeches or speaking on panels, that President Obama is an enemy of Israel, could you please stop your nonsense for a while? Thank you.
2) It would be very nice if Prime Minister Netanyahu would reciprocate this enormous show of good will and confidence, by, oh, stopping settlement growth. Here are some other things Bibi could do.
3) Why couldn’t the U.S. convince the Palestinians to withdraw this resolution in the first place? Don’t we fund the Palestinian Authority government? This resolution, while emotionally satisfying to Palestinians, achieved nothing, except annoying the two countries — Israel and the U.S. — that the Palestinians most need to bring about the creation of a state.
Update: While vetoing the Security Council resolution, US ambassador Susan Rice spoke out against Israel’s settlement policies:
“For more than four decades, Israeli settlement activity in territories occupied in 1967 has undermined Israel’s security and corroded hopes for peace and stability in the region,” Rice told the council. “Continued settlement activity violates Israel’s international commitments, devastates trust between the parties and threatens the prospects for peace.”
But, Rice said, the adoption of the resolution would risk “hardening the positions of both sides.”