A leaked cable from Paris reveals that the Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak advertised the fact that the US and Israel had a ‘secret accord’ to ‘continue the natural growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.’
According to the cable [09PARIS827], the MFA Middle East Director Patrice Paoli reported that the Israeli defense minister made the bold claim during a meeting with French officials on June 15, 2009 – five years after a landmark ruling by the International Court of Justice underscored the United States’ requirement to enforce international legal obligations on countries with which they have influence.
If the defense minister’s claims were indeed true (perhaps denoted by the fact that Ehud Barak retained his position until his retirement in 2011), this would place the Obama administration in direct violation of the World Court ruling and also violate the UN Security Council resolutions 446, 452, 465 and 471, which underscored the illegality of Israel’s colonization of occupied territories.
In December 2016, US President Barack Obama decided not to veto a United Nations call to halt settlement-expansion in the West Bank. This last-ditch attempt at salvaging international esteem by the Nobel Peace Prize-awarded leader, however, does very little to shadow the fact that the Obama administration did more to shield an increasingly-oppressive Israeli government than any other US leader.
In accords with the secret agreement that is referred to in the Wikileaks cable, Obama vetoed every single UN attempt to crack-down on Israeli settlement-expansion until his decision to forego this process in the last few weeks of his tenure, provoking rage from a largely conservative Congress but praise from human rights organisations around the world. However, in contrast, under George W. Bush (generally considered the President with the most aggressive approach to foreign policy since Dwight Eisenhower) six similar resolutions were allowed through, and under H.W. Bush, nine resolutions critical of Israel were allowed through.
The UN Resolution that was not vetoed by the US was toothless and largely symbolic. It authorizes no sanctions to compel Israel to respect international law. Notably, despite being considered a ‘statement piece’ by the outgoing Obama administration, the US merely withdrew their veto power rather than choosing to actually support the motion.
At the same time, Obama awarded Israel with its largest military aid package ever — signing a memorandum of understanding in September that would give it $38 billion over 10 years.
Ultimately, as long as the majority of donors to the two major US political parties remain stridently pro-Israel, any politician’s decision to leverage the United States’ political and financial power in order to put an end to Israel appropriating Palestinian land will always be political suicide. It is certainly unlikely that Obama’s apparent ‘betrayal’ of Israel will have any genuine impact on the agreement that Ehud Barack boasted during his trip to France.
Wikileaks Decrypted | Wikileaks Blog | Israel and Palestine Conflict | Israeli Settlements in the West Bank