Middle East Expert: Anti-Settlement UN Security Council Resolution Can’t Be Rescinded, But There Are Steps Trump Can Take to Retaliate
While the Trump administration will not be able to rescind the anti-Israeli settlement UN Security Council resolution that was approved last week, there are a number of retaliatory steps it could take, a Middle East expert told The Algemeiner on Thursday.
“You can’t unring that bell,” Jonathan Schanzer — vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think tank in Washington, DC — said in reference to the resolution. “A Security Council resolution is a Security Council resolution and will not be changed. But as far as what comes next, we know Senators Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and others are talking about cutting funding to the UN. The US provides around 22% of the total UN budget, so such a cut would be very significant and send an extremely strong message.”
“Short of that,” Schanzer went on to say, “there could be line items that could be zeroed out by the US, such as funding for the UN Human Rights Council and UNWRA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East).”
Another potential option, Schanzer said, would be for the Trump administration to downgrade the status of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s diplomatic mission in Washington, DC, which was upgraded in 2010 by the Obama administration to a “delegation general.”
“I have a feeling that some of these things will come to pass,” Schanzer said.
Following the vote on the resolution last Friday, Trump tweeted, “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20.”
The resolution, Schanzer predicted, “will create a lot of problems for Israel that will take some time to overcome.”
For instance, he said, “There is a likelihood it will supercharge efforts to delegitimize Israel and put wind in the sails of the BDS movement.”
Furthermore, Schanzer noted, the resolution could put a damper on the burgeoning ties between Israel and the Sunni Arab axis in the Middle East.
“These Arab states can’t, as they say, be holier than the pope,” Schanzer pointed out.
According to Schanzer, it is still unclear whether Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on Wednesday — in which Kerry assailed Israeli settlement construction — was the “final chapter or just the second salvo” of the Obama administration’s lame-duck Middle East diplomatic push.
“We’ve got three weeks left to see what else, if anything, materializes,” he said.
“We know that France and New Zealand have been working on parameters for [Israeli-Palestinian peace] negotiations,” Schanzer said. “There is a possibility that this turns into something that could be sent to the UN. And while the Obama administration was careful to say it would not endorse or abstain on any other resolution that targets Israel, if you think about a parameters resolution, it doesn’t target Israel. So it’s possible.”