— Ben White (@benabyad) March 19, 2015
The fallout from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scorched earth re-election campaign continues. Now the White House is letting it be known that it may withdraw the longstanding US policy of mindlessly vetoing sanctions against Israel at the UN. Given that Israel is openly breaking international law with its settlement policy as well as its periodic slaughtering of civilians under the banner of “anti-terrorism” operations it is quite possible that the US withdrawing its protection could lead to sanctions.
According to Politico, officials within the Obama White House are furious over Netanyahu’s declaration that if he was re-elected the two state solution was dead and said they were open to changing the US’ policy of always covering for Israel at the UN. Changes in policy could include a move to stop opposing Palestine’s efforts to enter International Criminal Court, allow sanctions for settlements to proceed, and support international demands for Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories.
Given the US Congress’ cartoonish support for Prime Minister Netanyahu it appears unlikely that there will be any cut off of us aid to Israel, but by simply letting the international system work President Obama can put a lot of pressure on the Israeli government.
“The positions taken by the prime minister in the last days of the campaign have raised very significant substantive questions that go far beyond just optics,” said a senior administration official, adding that recent Israeli government actions were in keeping with Netanyahu’s rhetoric.
While saying it was “premature” to discuss Washington’s policy response, the official wouldn’t rule out a modified American posture at the United Nations, where the U.S. has long fended off resolutions criticizing Israeli settlement activity and demanding its withdrawal from Palestinian territories.
It is telling that all the Obama Administration would have to do to put such great pressure on Israel is to stop mindlessly defending it in international forums. Israel’s illegal behavior has alienated the state from a great number of countries in the world which is why any empowerment of international institutions is viewed as bad news by the Israeli government. But that is also why it is so clearly needed.
The Israeli electorate endorsed an apartheid system in the election this week, now comes the response. Elections have consequences.