This week both US Pres. Obama, in his last days in office, and Israeli PM Netanyahu, gave diametrically opposed versions of the recent US abstention on UN SC Resolution 2443. According to Obama, the US did nothing more than repeat the policy that the Israeli settlements in the West Bank are “illegal” that all Presidents, Democrats and Republicans, before him have done. Also, he did not initiate or organize this anti-Israel Resolution, it was sponsored by Egypt in consultation with the Palestinians, and the US merely went along.
According to Netanyahu, Obama and the US played a central role in organizing this Resolution and there were marked differences from previous US policy. For example, in the Resolution both the West Bank and East Jerusalem, that were captured by Israel in the defensive Six-Day War of 1967, are termed “Palestinian territory,” whereas in fact they are not. The Palestinians have never had any sovereignty over them and this is wishful thinking on the part of those who want to see a “two-state solution,” so they were labelled as “Palestinian territory” in the Resolution and the US abstained on that, whereas in the past the US has always avoided designating the identity of the land pending direct bilateral negotiations between the two sides, according to prevous UN resolutions, such as 242. Also, in prior Administrations, Jerusalem has deliberately been left out of the territories as a separate issue to be resolved between the two sides, labelling East Jerusalem as “occupied Palestinian territory” is a new anti-Israel twist introduced by Obama.
Now, you may think that these terms are not significant, but in fact they are, for two reasons. First they prejudge the situation, so that it makes it more difficult rather than less so to arrive at a peaceful solution. And second the Palestinians have no need to negotiate on the outcome of the conflict if the UN and the US have already recognized their right to control those territories.
Netanyahu has stated that Israel has “unequivocal evidence” that Obama and the US played a significant role in organizing this Resolution, which Obama denies. Note also that Egypt withdrew from sponsorship, but evidently the US pressured other countries (including New Zealand) to reintrodcuce it. Netanyahu must be pretty sure of his evidence to state this publicly and has said that he will share this evidence with the incoming Trump Administration. I think this will all come out soon and we will see how Obama, out of anti-Israel animus, deliberately changed US policy in order to “stick it” to the Israelis. He is a scorpion with a sting in his tail.