How UN Security Council Resolution 2334 Relates to Palestinian Terrorism

The UN Security Council vote on Resolution 2334 (UN website, December 23, 2016).
The UN Security Council vote on Resolution 2334 (UN website, December 23, 2016).

Overview

On December 23, 2016, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2334, with 14 countries voting in favor. The United States abstained allowing the resolution to pass. Resolution 2334 deals mostly with the Israeli settlements in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem, over which there is broad international consensus. The issue of terrorism is included in the resolution but its weight is slight (as opposed to extensive dealing with the settlements, which are represented as the main obstacle to peace). Moreover, for the most part the terminology used in dealing with terrorism is general and vague. The resolution does not explicitly refer to Palestinian terrorism, the Palestinian terrorist organizations (especially Hamas) and popular terrorism and violence(the so-called "popular resistance"). (For the paragraphs of the resolution dealing with terrorism and violence see Appendix A.)

 

1.   By not explicitly mentioning Palestinian terrorism and the Palestinian terrorist organizations,the resolution can be expected to lead the Palestinians to interpret the operative paragraphs dealing with terrorism and violence as relating to Israeland not Palestinian terrorism(Paragraphs 6 and 7; see Appendix A). That was manifested at the recent 7th Fatah Movement conference when Mahmoud Abbas rejected terrorism "regardless of motive and source," including the terrorism of a country [i.e., Israel] and the settlers. He claimed that "we [Palestinians] adhere to culture and tolerance."

2.    By focusing on the settlements, and not making explicit reference to Palestinian terrorism, the resolution strengthens the Palestinian claim (insinuated into the public discourse of the international community) that the settlements and not Palestinian terrorism are the main obstacles to peace and the two-state solution. Thus the conclusion is that the settlements and not Palestinian terrorism should be the main priority of political negotiations. That ignores the overwhelming role of Palestinian terrorism in undermining the Oslo Accords and other agreements, and in disrupting attempts to launch an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue(achieving one of the goals of the terrorist attacks of Hamas and the other terrorist organizations). Moreover, the wording of the paragraphs dealing with terrorism may encourage Palestinian terrorism, and popular terrorism in particular, which is considered legitimate by the PA and Fatah.[1]

3.   Thus it is no wonder that Resolution 2334 won unexpectedly broad support in the internal Palestinian arena, from the PA to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). That isbecause the Palestinians regard it as a tool for advancing their fight against the settlements and their efforts to isolate Israel internationally. At the same time, as far as they are concerned, the resolution does not commit them to abandoning violence and terrorism(when the resolution was passed, popular terrorism attacks in Judea and Samaria continued alongside Hamas efforts to promote military-type attacks, including mass-casualty attacks, in population centers in Israel). Publicly, Hamas spokesmen stressed that while they supported Resolution 2334, the "worthy solution" for the conflict with Israel was the path of "resistance" [i.e., terrorism] even if it included "convoys of shaheeds"(al-Aqsa, December 25, 2016).

4.   In a speech given on December 28, 2016, John Kerry, the American secretary of state, represented the resolution as balanced. He said it "condemns violence and incitement" and expressed the broad international consensus against the settlements. However, a careful reading of the resolution indicates it is not balanced. It expresses the fundamentalPalestinian positionfocusing on the settlements, while making no clear reference to fighting Palestinian terrorism, both military and "popular." Palestinian terrorism, however, is the main obstacle to any attempt for a dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.

[1]For further information, see the December 12, 2016 bulletin, "The 7th Fatah Movement Conference Again Legitimizes Popular Terrorism (The So-Called 'Peaceful Popular Resistance')," at http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/21107.