Obozo regime abstains on key UN vote; State Dept spokesman tapdances wildly
The Lying Media have reported that the resolution (2334) ordered Israel to stop building homes for Israelis in East Jerusalem (which the Palestinians call "occupied territory"), but in fact the resolution did far worse. (Full text of the resolution is at the end of this post.)
Israel's leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, claimed Israel's intel service had absolute proof that the Obozo regime "collaborated" on the wording of the resolution. State denied that, saying they simply made the resolution more ‘balanced’ so that it didn’t "unfairly target Israel."
But...one of the hallmarks of regimes caught in a lie is that their "explanation" for what they've been accused of doesn't make any sense. The "explainers" carefully parse words to avoid damaging admissions. So watch as reporters ask State spokesman Mark Toner to explain the charge that the administration actively pushed the resolution:
QUESTION: Tensions have been increasing since the UN vote on Friday. Israeli officials are now being quoted as saying that they have evidence that they will lay out to the Trump administration of – in which the U.S., specifically Kerry, had discussions with the Palestinians before the vote, a few weeks before, during a visit to Washington where Saeb Erekat was around, and basically that he pushed them to go to Egypt and to move ahead with this resolution. That’s one of the things.
So the question is, was the U.S. hiding behind this other group of countries to submit the resolution? Were those discussions ever taken place? Because the Israelis feel that they’ve got evidence that there was meddling by the Americans.
MR TONER: We’ve obviously seen the same reports...allegations that somehow this was U.S.-driven and precooked. What I’ll say is that we reject the notion that the United States was the driving force behind this resolution. That’s just not true. The United States did not draft this resolution, nor did it put it forward. It was drafted and initially introduced, as we all know, by Egypt, in coordination with the Palestinians and others.
When it was clear that the Egyptians and the Palestinians would insist on bringing this resolution to a vote and that every other country on the council would, in fact, support it, we made clear to others, including those on the Security Council, that further changes were needed to make the text more balanced. And that’s a standard practice on – with regard to resolutions at the Security Council. So there’s nothing new to this.
We also made clear at every conversation – in every conversation – that the President would make the final decision and that he would have to review the final text before making his final decision. So the idea that this was, again, precooked or that we had agreed upon the text weeks in advance is just not accurate. And in fact —
QUESTION: We know the U.S. didn’t draft it or put it forward. But was the U.S. in any way coaxing on any – another group of countries to move ahead and go and move ahead with this resolution?
MR TONER: [What follows is exact transcript] Well, again, these are –
I mean, again, I think it’s important to have the proper context, in that all through the fall there was talk about –
and we often got the question here and of course we replied that we’re never going to discuss hypotheticals in terms of what resolutions or what is circulating out there –
but of course there has been for some time in the fall talk about this resolution or that resolution with regard to the Middle East peace and the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
So of course, in the –
of course, in the course of those conversations, we’re always making clear what our parameters are, what our beliefs are, what our –
what we need to see or what we –
in order to even consider a resolution. That’s part of the give-and-take of the UN.
QUESTION: But surely these countries, before they would move ahead, would want to get the view of an influential member of the Security Council of the UN of who – of what their position would be on this.
MR TONER: Well, again, I think we – of course, as the draft or the text was circulated, we said to those on the Security Council that – what further changes were needed to make the text more balanced.
And in fact, we ended up abstaining because we didn’t feel it was balanced enough in the sense of it didn’t hit hard enough on the incitement-to-violence side of the coin.This is critical: Toner has just said the Obama regime was looking for possible further changes to make the text more balanced. But then "We ended up abstaining because we didn't feel it was balanced enough."
After Egypt initially introduced the resolution they actually withdrew it. Toner says Egypt "and the Palestinians" made it clear they were going to bring the resolution to a vote. Somebody seems to be wrong.
QUESTION: At what stage did you intervene to try and balance? Was it after Egypt said they’d withdraw it?
MR TONER: I think it was once – yeah, I mean, once – I mean, I don’t have a date certain. It was once the Egyptians and Palestinians made it clear that they were going to advance this text or bring this resolution to a vote and that, in fact, it would be supported by other countries.
QUESTION: Does that date predate Mr. Erekat’s visit to the State Department?
MR TONER: I don’t know the date of his visit. But again, I’m not – I’m not exactly – and I’m not necessarily excluding that when he did visit to the State Department that they didn’t discuss possible resolutions or anything like that in terms of draft language. But again, there was no – nothing precooked. There was nothing – this was not some move orchestrated by the United States.
QUESTION: Could you be clear what you just said? I heard a double negative in there. You’re not precluding that they didn’t discuss it. Are you saying they – that when the Palestinians were here —
MR TONER: I don’t have a readout. Yeah, I don’t have a readout of that meeting in front of me. I just – but I said I can imagine that they talked about Middle East peace broadly and efforts to reinvigorate the process. I don’t know that they discussed the possible action at the UN. But of course, as we – as I said in answer to Lesley’s question, that was something that was in the mix for some months now in New York at the UN that there might be some action taken there.
QUESTION: And what about New Zealand, when the Secretary was there before Antarctica?
MR TONER: Yeah.
QUESTION: And also I believe he had a meeting here with Mr. Shoukry at some point in early December.
MR TONER: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Was the resolution discussed at either of those meetings with those diplomats?
MR TONER: Again, I can’t specifically say whether the resolution –
but certainly, if a resolution or action at the UN was discussed, it wasn’t discussed in the level of detail where there was some final text. We always reserved the right with any text that was put forward, drafted and put forward, to veto it or to not take action or abstain, which is what we ended up doing.
QUESTION: But you advised them on how to put together a motion that the United States would feel comfortable abstaining or voting in favor of?Finally they get to the heart of the matter, and the spokesperson gets more defensive.
MR TONER: Well, I think what we said is – and this is not just unique to this process, but once a text, a draft text is to the point where it’s going to be put forward to a vote, of course we would provide input on what we believed were – was language that didn’t pass or didn’t allow us to vote for it or —
QUESTION: You didn’t just say bring whatever motion you like up and we’ll vote however we feel about it. You were encouraging them to bring forward a motion that you would feel comfortable not blocking.
MR TONER: Well, but we have to be really careful in how we’re talking about this because what the allegations —Actually it is. The U.S. refused to use its veto, allowing the thing to pass.
MR TONER: No, I know and I understand that. But no, no, but I’m saying that some of the allegations out there, frankly, are implying that this was somehow some – as I said, some orchestrated action by the U.S. to pass a resolution that was negative about settlement activity in Israel, and the fact is that that’s just not the case.
Of course, we would always provide, when the final text was going up for a vote, our opinion on where the red lines were. But I think that – I think this is all a little bit of a sideshow, to be honest, that this was a resolution that we could not in good conscience veto because it condemns violence, it condemned incitement, it reiterates what has long been the overwhelming consensus international view on settlements, and it calls for the parties to take constructive steps to advance a two-state solution on the ground. There was nothing in there that would prompt us to veto that type of resolution.Looks to me as though Toner is parsing words very carefully: 'We did not draft it. We did not introduce it. All we wanted was to ensure it was balanced.' But he's protecting the truth.
QUESTION: — because you told them not to put anything in there that would cause you to veto it.
MR TONER: But that – but again, not at all. And I said we did not take the lead in drafting this resolution. That was done by the Egyptians with the Palestinians. But again, in any kind of resolution process, of course there’s moments where – or I mean, it’s not like our views regarding settlements or regarding resolutions with respect to Israel aren’t well-known and well-vetted within the UN community. There’s been many times in the past where we’ve not – or we vetoed resolutions that we found to be biased towards Israel. But that’s another point here is that there’s nothing – the other canard in all of this is that this was somehow breaking with longstanding U.S. tradition in the UN Security Council, when we all know that every administration has vetoed – or rather has abstained or voted for similar resolutions.
QUESTION: But it’s true then that you had opportunities to ask them not to bring it forward at all and didn’t take them.
MR TONER: I’m not sure what you’re —
QUESTION: Well, instead of saying why not write the motion this way, you could have said please don’t bring a motion.
MR TONER: Well, again, I think when it was clear to us that they were going to bring it to a vote and that every other council – every other country on the council was going to support that resolution, that draft text —
QUESTION: When did it become clear to you that it would —
MR TONER: I don’t have a date certain for that.
Here's the actual text of resolution, minus a lot of "whereas" filler:
1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;
2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;
3. Underlines that [the security council] will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;
4. Stresses that the cessation of all Israeli settlement activities is essential for salvaging the two-State solution, and calls for affirmative steps to be taken immediately to reverse the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-State solution;
6. Calls for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation and destruction, calls for accountability in this regard, and calls for compliance with obligations under international law for the strengthening of ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including through existing security coordination, and to clearly condemn all acts of terrorism;
7. Calls upon both parties to act on the basis of international law, including international humanitarian law, and their previous agreements and obligations, to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, with the aim, inter alia, of de-escalating the situation on the ground, rebuilding trust and confidence, demonstrating through policies and actions a genuine commitment to the two-State solution, and creating the conditions necessary for promoting peace;