Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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The UN Honor Roll

by Elliott Abrams
November 30, 2012


The honor roll of countries that voted with the United States and Israel against the PLO’s foolish initiative in the UN General Assembly ┬áis small. In addition to the Pacific island nations that always vote with the United States, there are only Canada, Panama, and the Czech Republic. Good for them for resisting the temptation to abstain, which is what was done by forty-one countries. Some were predictable, while others were disappointments: Australia, Germany, and Colombia, for example.

The overwhelming majority for the resolution comes as no surprise, for there is an automatic majority in the General Assembly for anything viewed as anti-Israel. Combine the Islamic Conference countries and the so-called Non-Aligned, and anything can pass–no matter how counter-productive.

Those few who voted no along with the United States voted right, and should be proud of their votes. It would be nice if the president called the Canadian, Czech, and Panamanian leaders to thank them.



Post a Comment 3 Comments

  • Posted by Naomi Mann

    Sorry, but you have lost me with your praise for this “honor roll” and your contemptuous use of the word “foolish” in relation to the PLO iniitiative. I am and always have been a staunch supporter of Israel, and I have appreciated your commentary on all things Middle East. I am well aware of how much hostility towards Israel has been expressed in the United Nations General Assembly over the past 60 years. But yesterday did not have the appearance or substance of that kind of hostility, though I am not so naive as to think it did not motivate some of the voters. Still, yesterdays action had more the feel of “enough already,” let’s see if this can work. Give Abbas a chance. In the eyes of this pro-Israeli American, it was the stubborn opposition to the PLO initiative at the UN yesterday, especially by the US and Israel, that was foolish, not the PLO initiative. Coupled with this morning’s NYTimes article about a renewed effort to build Jewish housing in East Jerusalem, further diminishing the possibility of a viable Palestinian entity there, my heart sinks. What did Israel or the US have to lose by voting for the PLO initiative? If the PLO presence as an observer nation results in renewed hostility by the PLO and their currently estranged partners in Gaza, well then, Israel and the US will look all the better for having taken the high road and at least given the world the appearance of striving for a negotiated peace with the only moderate on the other side. If this initiative actually results in concrete moves toward peace, at least in the West Bank, then the US and Israel will have shown their own willingness to work for peace, and if Gaza is somehow driven to lay down its arms, kiss and make up with the PLO and join the process, so much the better. I don’t think there is any “honor” and certainly not an honor roll to be drawn from yesterday’s behavior by the US and Israel

  • Posted by Adam

    R u serious?

  • Posted by David

    The Palestinian Authority made a treaty commitment (the Oslo accords) to negotiate security, boundary, and other final status issues with Israel – and not to use any other forum to bypass those negotiations.

    In addition to refusing to negotiate with Israel and violating their treaty commitment by going to the UN instead of bilateral negotiations, the Palestinian Authority also incites violence against Jews, names sports events and streets after terrorists and murders (holding them up as role models for Palestinian children) and pays stipends to convicted murders in Israeli jails.

    I consider it very dishonorable to reward such behavior. The honorable thing to do is to strongly encourage the Palestinian Authority to prepare their citizens to accept the legitimate right of Israel to exist as Jewish state (as Israel has already accepted the right of Palestine to exist as an Arab state) and to work WITH Israel in settling the issues that are blocking Palestinian statehood. This encouragement can be conveyed by letting the Palestinians know that there is no easy alternative (such as recognition by the UN) to the need to negotiate with Israel and make painful compromises at the same time as the Israelis are making painful compromises.

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