Michael Oren is Israel‘s Deputy Minister for Diplomacy. On Tuesday he was interviewed by Hugh Hewitt on the subject of U.N. Resolution 2334, the Resolution that declared Israeli ‘settlements’ in parts of Israel illegal. Hugh Hewitt posted a transcript of the interview.
This is a highlight from the interview that explains why Resolution 2334 is neither appropriate or helpful:
HH: I have to begin by asking, you’re such a great historian, will you reset what the dispute over the territory is and why the Western Wall is not occupied territory, as the UN Resolution 2332 declares it to be?
MO: It’s, okay, I’ll try to do it as quickly as possible. In 1947, the UN declared that Palestine, as it was then known, would be partitioned into two states – an Arab state and an Jewish state. Notice, not a Palestinian state, but an Arab state. The Palestinians didn’t quite exist, yet, and at least not on the international radar. And the Arabs went to war to destroy the Jewish state when it was created on May 14, 1948. And the city of Jerusalem was divided. The eastern part of the city was occupied by the Jordanians, the West Bank was occupied by the Jordanians. In June, 1967, the Jordanians attacked Israel again. Israel repulsed the attack, reunited Jerusalem under Israeli rule, and captured the West Bank, or as we call it, Judea and Samaria. It is not occupied by international law, because the West Bank and East Jerusalem was never part of a recognized sovereign country. Nobody in the world, except for Britain and Pakistan, recognized the Jordanian annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. So the entire international law claim is spurious. But when Israel reunited the city and reunited the city, the Western Wall is in the eastern part of the city. The old city is in the eastern part of the city. We certainly can’t consider our homeland for 3,000 years to be occupied territory. You know, tell a member of the Sioux Nation that his tribal lands are occupied and he can’t live on them. That’s what the UN is telling us. They’re telling us more than that, that by living in them, we’re criminals.
HH: Yeah, this audience has heard Steven Pressfield talk about The Lion’s Gate, the book that will bring people to tears. And you’ve talked about it in your histories as well. It just is absurd. So what happened? Why would the United States do this? And what was the United States’ role in Resolution 2332, which was not vetoed in a breach of American policy that is as bad for the country of Israel as it is for the Palestinians and indeed the world?
MO: It’s bad for the world, and it’s bad for the United States, too, Hugh, and I’ll explain why. The American role was to stand back and let Israel take a tremendous hit, a tremendous hit that will expose us to sanctions and boycotts. It will kill the peace process. It will deliver a deadly, deadly blow to the people of the Middle East who look to the UN for salvation and get absolutely none at a time when hundreds of thousands of people are being massacred here. What does the UN do? It beats up on the Middle East’s only democracy. And America’s role, according to Prime Minister Netanyahu, was to cook it all up and to do some arm twisting and make it happen? Why? The Obama administration did this, I can recommend another book, I can’t do that because I’m in government, where it explains the Obama’s worldview, a worldview that sees the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the core conflict of the Middle East, sees the core of that conflict, the settlement and the occupation, as he calls it, and was going to do his utmost to his last day in office to discredit and delegitimize Israel for our position in settling our homeland and reuniting our ancestral capital, Jerusalem.
This resolution essentially states that Jews building houses on their own land is an obstacle to peace. Somehow it overlooks the fact that rockets fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip might be an obstacle to peace. Somehow it overlooks the fact that Hamas and the PLO have never acknowledged Israel’s right to exist–that might be an obstacle to peace.
It is a shame that this resolution was passed. If peace is possible in the Middle East, this resolution will make it more difficult to achieve. It is difficult to make peace with people whose goal is ‘to drive you into the sea,’ which has been the stated goal of the Arab nations surrounding Israel since 1948 when Israel became a nation. It is even more unfortunate that nations who generally support freedom do not support the only free country in the Middle East where Jews and Arabs have equal rights and religious freedom.The Israeli model of equal rights is the only path to peace in the Middle East, and the United Nations just threw a giant obstacle in that path.