John McCormick: Failure of UN resolution not Israel’s fault

Guest Post:

First published 13/01/18

Hawke’s Bay Today

John McCormick says the Arabs have rejected every proposed peace deal since the 1967 Six-Day War

In the second year of his first term in office President Clinton, on May 29, 1995, signed into law the Jerusalem Embassy Act.

This bipartisan law passed with 15 votes against in the House of Representatives and 95 to 5 against in the Senate. The Embassy was to be moved to Jerusalem by the end of 1999.

There was a waiver clause in the bill which allowed a president to decline to order the move every six months on national security grounds. Clinton used the wavier for the rest of his first term.

In his second term President Clinton, followed by George H. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump all campaigned on moving the Embassy to Jerusalem.

All used the waiver, Donald Trump used it once, six months ago in July 2017. But in the lead up to the end of his first year in office on January 20, 2018 he announced on December 6, 2017 that he would move the embassy.

The world first reacted with demonstrations in the West Bank, Gaza and elsewhere. Now a month later they have died away to nothing. The nations of the world in the United Nations General Assembly acted in the usual anti-Semitic way by condemning the US for enacting a law of its own.

New Zealand had four choices, vote with the US, abstain, stay away from the debate as Kenya did or vote “no” with the rabble. We voted with the rabble, with Syria, North Korea, Venezuela and 57 Muslim countries such as Malaysia who refuse to allow Jews from New Zealand, Israel or any other country to visit their countries. We now live with that embarrassment.

2017 saw two countries make statements on the status of Jerusalem before Trump did. Russia announced in April that West Jerusalem was Israel’s capital and Iran said a few months latter that East Jerusalem was the Palestinian capital. Where was the outcry over those two statements?

If owning a city means it is your capital city then Jerusalem has only ever been the capital city of Jewish states. It has been a city of regional importance in many empires. Byzantine, Crusader, Roman and the Turkish empires are a few that regarded the city as locally important. Next year in Jerusalem, the Jews have always prayed.

Lorde, aka Ella Yelich-O’Connor, announced her June 2018 concert trip to Israel on December 18, 2017. Immediately the BDS (Boycott Divestment Sanctions) movement protests started, first on social media then elsewhere.

A letter by New Zealand BDS activists Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab arrived and was published on December 21. Lorde cancelled her Tel Aviv concert on December 25th. It is unfortunate for Ella but such a quick reaction saw her ally herself with the BDS movement which seeks to destroy Israel.

I say this from personal experience in attending the counter demonstration in Wellington on February 22, 2014 when the John Minto-led BDS protest tried to stop the Bat Sheba Dance Company performing as the opening act of the NZ Festival of the Arts. Minto’s chant was … “From The river to the sea, Palestine will be free”. From the river Jordan to the Mediterranean sea. No place for Israel in that chant or on the map of the BDS brochure they handed out that evening.

This sort of evidence of the true nature of the BDS is known worldwide which is why as an International star Lorde has come under attack and criticism. She needs to stand back and revisit her decision. Take more than a week this time.

From 1949 to the June 1967 war the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza were occupied territory. The West Bank and East Jerusalem by Jordan who annexed them and allowed them to be a base for terrorists and for attacks on Israel. Egypt allowed the Gaza Strip to be a base for terror attacks against Israel. No attempts were made to set up a Palestinian state in either area.

Since the 1967 Six-Day War and the passing of UNSC 242 there have been many attempts to get a peace deal, including two that offered Jerusalem under joint control as the capital of both Israel and the Palestinian state as well as a land corridor and road tunnel between Hebron and Gaza. Both offered land swaps and the complete withdrawal of all settlements not connected with the land swaps.

British Ambassador to the UN Lord Caradon, who helped write 242, later wrote that it was deliberate that the resolution did not call for a return to the May 1967 borders. Lord Caradon writing in 1978 said that the May ’67 borders were nothing more than ceasefire lines and were not secure borders. President Johnson said in 1968 that both parties must talk and come to an agreement which he would then support.

So why have the Arabs said no to every peace plan!!

Israel and Egypt made peace and Israel withdrew from the Sinai. Jordan made peace which resulted in changes to the land border south of the Dead Sea. In 2005 Israel withdrew completely from Gaza without a peace treaty. As part of the Gaza withdrawal Israel withdrew from the northeastern West Bank city of Jenin and four surrounding settlements without a peace treaty. Israel can and has compromised when making peace.

The responsibility for any failure under UNSC 242 is squarely with the Palestinians, not with Israel or the authors of UN Security Council Resolution 242.


John McCormick is chairman of Hawke’s Bay Friends of Israel.?