January 17, 2017

Passions Around “Anti-Israel” UN Security Council Resolution

Oleksiy Volovych

December 23, 2016, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution S/RES/2334 condemning the construction of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories and Israel has described these actions as a violation of international law. The Resolution confirms that the construction of settlements by Israel “has no legal force and is a flagrant violation of international law and one of the main obstacles to reaching a settlement in accordance with the principle of coexistence of two states”. The Resolution demanded from Israel to stop building settlements in the Palestinian territories. Although the Resolution does not provide for any penalties or enforcement measures for not fulfilling it, it can have serious political consequences for Israel. 14 UN Security Council members, including Ukraine, voted for the Resolution, while the United States, which had previously traditionally blocked similar resolutions against Israel, abstained.

First the Resolution was put to the vote by the delegation of Egypt, but soon it was withdrawn by it “under the pressure of Israel and US President-Elect D. Trump”. December 23 almost identical text of the Resolution was again tabled in the Security Council on the initiative of Senegal, New Zealand, Malaysia and Venezuela. Over the past 30 years, the USA had blocked 40 the UN Security Council's “Anti-Israel” resolutions, and at last it decided to fix its “traditional pro-Israel bias” regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


The Resolution's Possible Consequences for Israel

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 is more of a symbolic and advisory character than of mandatory, as it does not contain the points requiring specific actions or sanctions. This is due to the fact that this Resolution was adopted under Chapter VI of the UN Charter — “Pacific Settlement of Disputes” and not under Chapter VII — “Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of Peace and Acts of Aggression”. However, this Resolution could serve as a basis for follow-up mandatory documents. According to Resolution 2334, the UN Secretary General every three months should report to the Security Council on how its provisions are being implemented, but it does not involve taking measures of coercion to have them implemented.

According to the Israeli columnist Itamar Eichner, the Resolution opens the way for international sanctions against Israel, threatens the political leadership of the country with the Hague Tribunal, and the leaders of the settler organizations with being brought to justice in any country of the world. The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 may affect the fate of the Palestinian claim against Israel, which is currently being considered by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has accused Israel of committing war crimes during the operation in the Gaza Strip in 2014 and during the construction of settlements in 2015. So far the case has been at the stage of preliminary consideration, but it is possible that the ICC will now re-classify it into criminal proceedings.


The Current Status of the West Bank and East Jerusalem

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip

During the Six Day War of 1967, the territory of the Western Bank of the Jordan River was occupied by Israel. Since 1995, after the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), parts of the West Bank have been controlled by the Palestinian National Authority, created as a result of those agreements. According to the definition of the UN Security Council, the territory of the West Bank of the Jordan River is under Israeli occupation. Israel disputes the definition of the territory as “occupied”, insisting on the term “disputed territory”.

According to the UN, now the West Bank is divided into three zones: Zone A (17.2 % of the territory) is under full Palestinian Authority's control, Zone B (23,8 % of the territory) is under civilian control of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA civil authority and responsibility of PNA for public order), but under Israel's military (guard) control, Zone C (59 % of the territory) is under full Israel's control. However, many Jewish and Israeli experts state that the PNA controls 90 to 98 % of the West Bank, at this, it does not bother to provide the reference to any internationally recognized documents.

The area of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is 5640 square kilometers, about 25.5 % of the territory of Israel. According to US CIA's estimates, the population of the West Bank and East Jerusalem as of 2016 amounted to 2.6 million Palestinian Arabs, and about 0.5 million Jews.

Israeli settlements are the settlements established on Palestinian territories occupied by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967 — on the West Bank, in Gaza and East Jerusalem, and on the Golan Heights, where the Druze live. The overwhelming majority of UN member states (about 140 countries) define these territories as occupied while Israel defines these territories as “disputed territories, previously not owned by any state”.

After the Six Day War, Israel began to create in the West Bank settlements for Israeli citizens. The UN Security Council and General Assembly consider the establishment of such settlements contradicting international law and have repeatedly demanded from Israel to stop constructing them. At this, Israel has still not announced the annexation of the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), although the radical right-wing political forces in Israel keep calling for this.

Along the border of the West Bank, Israel has erected a concrete separation barrier (wall) up to 8 meters high and over 700 km long with a 60-meter right-of-way. In many places, the barrier juts deep into the West Bank and deviates from the ceasefire line of 1949, fencing off to the Israeli side more than 10 % of the West Bank. Israel explains the construction of the wall by the need to protect its population from the continuing since 2000 penetrations into Israel suicide.


The Response to a Resolution in the USA

Since taking office in January 2009, the 44th US President Barack Obama had consistently opposed the construction of Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories. However, all Washington's “persuasions” had always been ignored by Israeli governments, which since 2009 headed by Benjamin Netanyahu. Therefore, B. Obama went to the extreme, albeit rather soft having taken a decision not to hinder the adoption of the UN Security Council's Resolution 2334. By the way, President B. Obama was not the first US president to “let” the adoption of the UN Security Council's anti-Israeli resolution. Under Bill Clinton and G. Bush Jr. the UN Security Council adopted a total of 12 resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and almost each of them contained criticism of Israel's actions.

B. Obama's administration explained the USA's abstaining from voting on this Resolution by the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy on settlements had not led to any progress in the negotiation process. Obviously not the least role in this whole story with Resolution 2334 of the UN Security Council was played by the very tense relationship between B. Netanyahu and President B. Obama actually during all of the past 8 years.

John Kerry

John Kerry

December 28, US Secretary of State J. Kerry made a speech in his own office, in which he outlined the views of President B. Obama's administration on the Arab-Israeli conflict. According to J. Kerry, although Israeli Prime Minister B. Netanyahu verbally declared commitment to creation of a Palestinian state, in reality his coalition “supports the settlements and tends to go in the opposite direction”. According to J. Kerry, the Jewish settlements on the West Bank are “an obstacle to peace, along with terror and occupation, and their expansion jeopardizes the possibility of a peace process”. J. Kerry believes that “Israel should return to the 1967 borders, with minor deviations in either direction within the framework of the exchange of populations”. He also said that the capital of both states, according to the vision of B. Obama's administration, should be Jerusalem, which will not be subject to further “redistribution”.

According to J. Kerry, “the entire political system of the United States, Democrats and Republicans, reject Israel's settlement policy”. J. Kerry also condemned the Palestinian Administration's “incitement to terrorism and attempts to delegitimize Israel internationally”. At the conclusion of his speech, he also mentioned the unprecedented amount of military aid that the Obama administration has provided to Israel over the last 8 years and has approved granting 38 billion US dollars for the next 10 years.

However, among US politicians there are a lot of figures, both Democrats and Republicans, who condemn the position of President B. Obama's Administration towards Israel and promise to fight for the reversal of Resolution 2334 through the adoption of relevant law, as well as to “punish the countries and organizations that oppose Israel, including the United Nations”. For example, former US Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams claims that President B. Obama during the eight years of his staying in power “did everything that was in his power to weaken the government of Israel and to distance the United States from Israel as much as possible”. Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan called B. Obama's administration's decision to abstain from voting for Resolution 2334 “absolutely disgraceful”, while the well-known in Ukraine Senator John McCain suggested that in that way the United States found itself “complicit in the blatant attack on Israel”...

John McCain and Lindsey Graham

John McCain and Lindsey Graham

Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Financial Assistance Lindsey Graham, who at the end of December 2016, along with Senators John McCain and Amy Klobuchar visited Ukraine, where he received from President of Petro Poroshenko Order of Yaroslav the Wise “for significant personal contribution to the strengthening of relations between Ukraine and the USA” and promised to render comprehensive assistance to Ukraine in its confrontation with Russia. At the same time he said that would seek an end to assistance to all the countries who voted December 23, 2016 in support of UN Security Council's Resolution 2334. We would like Senator Lindsey Graham to make up his mind: is he for providing assistance to Ukraine or for its termination?

US President-elect Donald Trump has said that after January 20, “everything will change in the UN”. Some of the “encouraged” by Trump Israeli politicians have begun to give him advice: to strengthen the US military presence in the Middle East and give up the idea of a peaceful settlement according to the formula “two states for two peoples”, to support the construction of settlements in Judea and Samaria, to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and to revise the nuclear deal with Iran.

Donald Trump and David Friedman

Donald Trump and David Friedman

I think that by deciding to abstain from voting on UN Security Council's Resolution 2334, B. Obama tried to obstruct D. Trump's future intensification of the “absolutely unlimited pro-Israel trends” in the USA's Middle East policy, the prospect of the realization of which became quite obvious after his decision to appoint the 57-year-old bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman, professing orthodox Judaism and Hebrew speaker to the post of the USA's Ambassador to Israel. D. Friedman is D. Trump's longtime business companion, who for years had been defending the interests of D. Trump's companies. Having not taken the post of US Ambassador in Israel, D. Friedman already announced his intention to move the USA's Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, to support the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the need to give up the US support for “the illusion of two states”. D. Friedman urges to significantly increase financial aid to Israel and proposes to stop recognizing Mahmoud Abbas as “the legitimate leader of the non-existent state of Palestine”. He believes that the Palestinians would prefer to live in a single Israeli state. However, D. Friedman's views do not find unanimous support within the American Jewish community and in Israel itself.


The Reaction to the Resolution in Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu

Already on December 23, Prime Minister B. Netanyahu lambasted the UN and US President B. Obama: “This decision is a disgrace. Nothing can be more absurd than to call the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem occupied territory. Apart from not bringing peace nearer, this decision postpones it. Just think how absurd it is: half a million people were killed in Syria, the Middle East is on fire, and they are finding faults with the only democracy in the region!” According to B. Netanyahu, the United Nations Security Council's Resolution 2334 will be canceled, as was the adopted in 1980 resolution equating Zionism with Nazism. The government's statement informed that Israel rejected that “shameful anti-Israel UN Resolution” and would not comply with its provisions.

B. Netanyahu ordered to suspend assistance to Senegal, to stop funding the five UN agencies, “most hostile to Israel” and withdrew Israel's Ambassador from New Zealand. He canceled the scheduled for 27-28 December 2016 official visit of Prime Minister of Ukraine V. Groysman to Israel, his own visit to Angola, as well as the meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May during the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Davos, to participate in which he also refused.

In general, the Israeli government's reaction to J. Kerry's speech of December 28, 2016 was extremely irritated. B. Netanyahu's office has accused the administration of US President B. Obama that it “not only did not protect Israel from this unfair attack at the UN, but also worked behind the scenes with its instigators”. The same day, the Office of the Israeli Prime Minister issued a statement on US Secretary of State J. Kerry's speech, in which it was called “unbalanced and anti-Israel”. The statement pointed out that J. Kerry was speaking only about the settlements in the West Bank and “almost ignored the root of the conflict and its main source: the Palestinians' refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish state to exist in any borders”.

Naftali Bennett

Naftali Bennett

The leader of the right-wing national-religious Party “Beit Yehudi” (“Jewish Home”) and the Minister of Education and Israeli Diaspora Naftali Bennett urged to continue not only the construction of Jewish settlements, but also the practice of the annexation of the West Bank. N. Bennett also said that J. Kerry's speech yet again confirmed the correctness of his (N. Benett's) position against the creation of a Palestinian state. At this, he promised to do his best to prevent “creation of a terrorist entity in the heart of our country”. It should be noted that H. Bennett has repeatedly stated that “the principle of “two states” has been buried, and it's time for the annexation of Judea and Samaria”. Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin (“Likud”) sharply and disparagingly criticized J. Kerry too. “Too many words and too little understanding of the reality. Kerry's speech is a bonus to terror and complete disregard for our right to this country”.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon announced that “to prohibit the Israelites to build settlements in Judea and Samaria — it's like “to ban the French from building in Paris”. Israeli Ambassador to the USA Ron Dermer called the UN “a gang of hooligans”, which clearly indicates his not very high diplomatic reputation.

Many Israelites expressing outrage over Ukraine's voting on the UN Security Council's Resolution 2334, remind us that the Israeli government paid for the treatment of the Ukrainian wounded, funded seminars of psychological rehabilitation of the ATO soldiers and officers, closed down the Israeli consulate in the Crimea and opened a new honorary consulate in Lviv, and in autumn 2016 agreed to let 20 thousand Ukrainians to work in construction in Israel. It was also said that our countries had been planning to conclude an agreement on free trade zone in 2017.

Isaac Herzog, Tzipi Livni, Yair Lapid

Isaac Herzog, Tzipi Livni, Yair Lapid

Quite different was the reaction to J. Kerry's speech of the Israel's Parliamentary opposition. Thus, the leaders of the “Zionist Camp” bloc Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni believe that “Kerry was and still is a true friend of Israel and his speech reflects his sincere concern about the future of our country”. J. Kerry's proposals have been also supported by the deputy of the above-mentioned bloc Amir Peretz. Calling the UN Security Council's Resolution 2334 “dangerous and unwise”, the leader of the centrist party “Yesh Atid” (“There Is a Future”) Knesset Deputy Yair Lapid nevertheless called the government's reaction to the Resolution “extremely unreasonable and hysterical”. According to him, “does not show strength; it shows stress and confusion”.

The leader of the radical left-wing party “Meretz”, Knesset Deputy Zehava Gal-On said that “Kerry's speech sends the government of Israel an unambiguous message: the settlements — are an explosive charge in any future settlement, based on the principle of two states, and for the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state”. According to him, “the historical Land of Israel belongs to two peoples — the Jews who returned to their homeland, and the Palestinian, who have lived here for many generations. Therefore, the principle of two states is the only way for those who are in favor of life, not death. “Haaretz”, which traditionally condemns the construction of settlements said that by voting for Resolution 2334, the world “tried to save Israel from its own self”.


The Reaction to the Resolution in Ukraine

Eliav Belotserkovskiy

Eliav Belotserkovskiy

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry issued a statement, which pointed out that Ukraine, as well as all members of the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary-General has repeatedly condemned Israel's settlement activity, since it is contrary to international law. Ukraine stands for peaceful coexistence of two independent states, Israel and Palestine. Israel's Ambassador to Ukraine Eliav Belotserkovskiy was invited to the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine to discuss further development of bilateral relations in the situation after the adoption of Resolution 2334 of the UN Security Council. Israel's Ambassador was explained that Ukraine adheres to the consistent position to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which it has repeatedly made public in a variety of formats. The Ukrainian side expressed its disappointment with the emotional reaction of certain Israeli officials and politicians to the results of voting in the UN Security Council on December 23, 2016, and the cancellation of the planned visit of Prime Minister of Ukraine Vladimir Groysman to Israel. V. Groysman himself with “understanding” perceived B. Netanyahu's decision and expressed his intention in the future to intensify negotiations with Israel to resolve problematic issues and to more actively develop bilateral relations.

The positions of Ukrainian experts and public figures in the assessment of the situation that has arisen after Ukraine's voting for the UN Security Council's Resolution 2334, are diametrically different. Thus, the chairman of the board of charity fund “Maidan of Foreign Affairs” Bohdan Yaremenko called the Israeli government's response to the adoption of the UN Security Council's “anti-Israel Resolution” too “categorical and even hysterical”. B. Yaremenko called unprecedented Israel's decision to limit relations with the UN, which actually made possible the creation of that state. However, B. Yaremenko believes that Ukrainians can learn from Israelites how to protect national interests.

The politician and former Member of Parliament from the “Party of Regions” Taras Chornovil called Benjamin Netanyahu “one of the speculators, who sometimes try to call any criticism of the Israeli government anti-Semitism and almost approving of the Holocaust”. Next T. Chornovil cited 17 examples of how B. Netanyahu at the level of bilateral relations and in international organizations ignored Ukraine's interests, “while currying favour with Russia, even without getting reciprocity”.

Josef Zissels and Andriy Adamovskyi

Josef Zissels and Andriy Adamovskyi

On the other hand, the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities (VAAD) of Ukraine, co-chaired by Andriy Adamovskyi and Josef Zissels, expressed “deep disappointment and sincere indignation” with the Ukrainian delegation's voting in the UN Security Council in support of the “anti-Israeli” resolution. According to them, “the achieved state of bilateral relations has been thrown far back... and we all have become hostages of the short-sighted, ill-considered actions of the group of officials”.

Commenting on Ukraine's voting in the UN Security Council for Resolution 2334, the former diplomat and adviser to the head of the SBU Markiyan Lubkivskyi said that “the Ukrainian diplomacy once again fell into the trap... we are talking about imbalances, inconsistencies in the Ukrainian foreign and domestic policy”. Next, M. Lubkivsky said that the year 2016 was quite fruitful and active for the development of the Ukrainian-Israeli relations at the level of a breakthrough. However, in his opinion, the vote of the delegation of the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations for the “anti-Israel resolution” actually negates the whole year of bilateral relations.


Conclusions and Forecasts

In all this story with the adoption of the UN Security Council's Resolution 2334, in our view, attention of ordinary people, inexperienced in various nuances of international politics in the first place is attracted to the furious reaction of the Israeli leadership, as if it were not a small country, created under the UN's resolution, but at least a major regional power. However, attempts to scale Israel's influence in the world with its territory (two-thirds of Odessa region), in this case do not work. Israel is a great country because of the greatness of its people, not its territory on which it managed to create a prosperous state, despite the 70-year-old confrontation with the Arabs. According to CIA figures, Israel's GDP (281.9 billion US dollars) is on the level of the GDP in Egypt and Pakistan. Israel's budget (76.12 billion US dollars) is three times the budget of Ukraine. Israel's military budget (16.4 billion US dollars) is three times larger than that of Ukraine, almost the same as the military budget of Canada, and just 4 times smaller than the military budget of Russia (!). Israel is one of the six countries that produce all kinds of weapons. In the global innovation index, Israel ranks fifth, ahead of the United States. A list of all the achievements of Israel may take many pages.

The small Israel's great strength is in its being not only the state of Israelites, but of the whole Jewish people of the world — 14.3 million people as of 2016. At present, 54 % of the Jewish population of the world live outside Israel, and only 46 % — in the historic homeland. The greatest number of Jews live in the United States — 5.7 million people, followed by Canada — 385 thousand, France — 485 thousand, UK — 270 thousand, Russia — 186 thousand, Ukraine — 63 thousand people, and dozens of other countries. Naturally, the Jewish diaspora throughout the world helps to Israel, but this assistance should not be exaggerated. Thus, the contribution of the Jewish world community into the Israeli economy is estimated at an average of 58 billion shekels a year — just 6.5 % of Israel's GDP.

The fact that the United States is home to more than a third of all Jews in the world, is the basis of the traditionally partner and strategic US-Israeli relations. It is well known that the Jewish community in the United States occupies a leading position in all spheres of the American society, especially in business, media, science, medicine, culture and politics. Unlike most of the people from different countries, who consider themselves above all the Americans and put US interests ahead of their historic homeland's ones, American Jews have always and above all remain Jews, and then the Americans. And always in the first place they put the interests of Israel.

American Jews have concentrated in their hands not more than 8-10 % of the US national wealth, but because of the dominance of the Jewish capital in the investment business and the US wholesale trade, Jews control 70-80 % of the US economy. Besides, owning only 25 % of the US media, thanks to their mediation in the field of information and advertising investments, the Jews control almost all the American media, and this plays a key role in shaping public opinion in the United States. It is often said that the US Congress is controlled by American Jews, but in reality it is not. In the latest, 114th Congress, elected in November 2014, there were only 29 Jews, at this, 27 of them — from the Democratic Party. Of these, 10 in the Senate (among 100 members) and 19 in the House of Representatives (among 435 members). Not many as compared with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

The USA's Middle East policy has always been and will be pro-Israel, regardless of who occupied or will occupy the White House at this or that historical moment. So President Donald Trump will need to change little in Washington's Middle East strategy, especially because so far he has not been seen as a high level of geopolitical strategist. Sooner, at his age, it will take him more than a year to learn to do the job of the president of a great country, which has a huge responsibility for the preservation of world order. I do not think that the US Congress would allow completely unpredictable President D. Trump (who has no experience in the elected office and has come from the most marginalized strata of his Republican Party) to dramatically change the USA's policy towards the UN, Israel and the Middle East as a whole. Certain unimportant nuances could be changed, but the main directions of this policy will remain unchanged. US President is just part of the big US political system, in which he exercises certain responsibilities, but in the choice of a strategic course of Washington's foreign policy very little depends personally on him.

The situation around the voting on the resolutions relating to the Arab-Israeli conflict and other conflicts, including the Ukrainian-Russian one, clearly demonstrates that the UN Security Council's permanent members' right to “veto” is not only a thing of the past, but also a factor that almost nullifies the effectiveness of the UN's functioning. International relations should not develop by the rules of the underworld, but in accordance with international law. However, the Security Council's permanent members in voting on different resolutions are often not guided by international law but by their own interests or the interests of its allies. What does it mean to “punish” a particular country for voting in the UN Security Council? What does it mean “to use sanctions” against the UN? If it is not absurd, then what is it? Joining the United Nations, every state gives a commitment to respect and comply with the Security Council's decisions. If a State cannot or does not want to do it, no one will hold the state in the UN by force.

According to many opinion polls, the vast majority of Israeli Jews supports the policy of establishing Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Therefore, any future Israeli government will continue to pursue this policy, which will leave less chance for a Palestinian state in this territory. On the other hand, even if a Palestinian state is ever created in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, it still will not solve the main problem — the return of millions of Palestinian refugees to their lands — because of 12 million Palestinian Arabs in the world, outside of Palestine there live about 7 million Palestinians, mostly refugees. Such a number of Palestinians cannot be settled on the territory of 6.2 thousand square kilometers of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, where in some areas the population density is 6 thousand people per 1 square kilometer. Thus, millions of Palestinian refugees have virtually nowhere to return to. On the other hand, half a million Jews who today have settled in the West Bank, will never go away, and their number will only increase. How to create a Palestinian state in that territory with numerous Jewish enclaves? It is unlikely that the Jewish settlers want to become citizens of a Palestinian state.

Jews and Arabs had lived in the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River for hundreds of years until the end of the 19th century in general as good neighbors. In November 1947, the UN allocated to each nation territories to create two states, but this decision has not been fully realized. Each of the two peoples considers this land its own and does not recognize the exclusive right of the other people to these lands. To get out of this impasse, the UN with the support of the majority of its members offers the same “two states solution” formula dating back to 1947, and categorically rejects the “one state for two nations” formula. But why? They say that the Palestinians will never agree to live in one state with the Jews. Won't they? Do all the Palestinians think so? It turns out not all do. Firstly, about two million Palestinians are citizens of Israel today, and have been living next to the Jews for many years. Secondly, the Palestinians and the Jews get more and more assimilated with each year coming, especially as they are “cousins”, descendants of Abraham, that is ethnically related peoples.

According to the poll, conducted in November 2010 by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion and American Institute “Pechter Middle East Polls” in 19 Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, 54 % of the inhabitants of these quarters preferred to remain under the control of Israel and only 31 % wanted to be citizens of Palestine. In case of this part of the city being transferred to Palestine, 40 % of respondents-Arabs announced their intention to move to areas that remain under Israeli control, and only 37 % are willing to accept “native authorities”. According to many experts, including the late Libyan leader and thinker Muammar Gaddafi, a compromise between Arabs and Jews is to create a single state that Gaddafi proposed to call “Isratine”. In my opinion, if today in the Palestinian territories to conduct a referendum under international supervision with one question: “Do you want to be citizens of a Palestinian state, or the citizens of Israel, in which the Arabs would have equal rights with the Jews”, the results can be quite a surprise for supporters of the “two states solution” formula.

With regard to Ukraine's voting in the UN Security Council on Resolution 2334, any other option was out of the question, given Ukraine's long-standing principled position on the issue of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. However, I think that not the last role in the Ukrainian leadership's decision to vote for the UN Security Council's Resolution 2334 was played by simple economic calculations. There is no doubt that all the 20 Arab countries, as well as dozens of other Muslim countries condemn the creation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Therefore, if Ukraine voted against the UN Security Council's Resolution 2334, or even abstained from voting, this could have resulted in significant losses in Ukraine's trade with Arab and Muslim countries, taking into account that in January–October 2016 the total export of Ukraine to Arab countries alone amounted to 3.3 billion US dollars, while exports to Israel — only 0.52 billion US dollars. We should not rule out that Ukraine could have several thousand fewer students from Arab and Muslim countries in 2017. I think that pragmatic by their mentality Jews can understand this.

At first glance, strange seems the Israeli leadership's “selective indignation” regarding the 15 countries that participated in the vote on the UN Security Council's Resolution. Most hail was caught by the “lame duck” — US President Barack Obama. However, if B. Obama had had at least one year till the end of his term, I think that the rhetoric of Prime Minister B. Netanyahu and his Ministers would not have been so belligerent and even insulting to the US President. Other countries — 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council, including Ukraine, and two permanent members — Great Britain and France also got their lumps from Israeli government. At this, B. Netanyahu seems to “have spared” Russia and China, which were almost beyond criticism. Some Israeli political analysts attribute this to the fact that Moscow and Beijing “have consistently opposed the settlement activity”. They say Moscow's and Beijing's positions were predictable. But then Ukraine and other non-permanent members of the current composition of the UN Security Council, have consistently opposed these activities too, but unfortunately, they could not avoid Bibi's (B. Netanyahu's) smashing anger.

In our opinion, the United Nations Security Council's Resolution 2334 will not change anything in Israel's settlement policy. The construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank will continue, perhaps even faster. Nobody will ever make Israel change this policy, which is supported by the vast majority of Israelites. The point of no return has been finally passed. And this requires a search for new and innovative approaches to the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, possibly through creation of the Palestinian Autonomy within the framework of the State of Israel, perhaps through granting Israeli citizenship to all the Palestinian Arabs currently living in the Palestinian territories. Perhaps there will be found other ways of resolving this long-term bloody conflict, which claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Jews and Arabs. In this conflict, Ukraine has never supported and will not support one of the two parties to the conflict. Ukraine has always been and will be on the side of reconciliation and coexistence between Israelites and Palestinian Arabs in their common land.