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Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017

President Obama Walks Away From Israel

Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2017, at 8:46 AM

The United States and Israel have a long-standing strategic alliance that, while tested throughout the years, has always been strong whether a Republican or Democrat is in the White House. Over the last eight years, that relationship has been strained to say the least.

Throughout President Obama's time in office, he acted counter to Israel's best interest. In the end, he walked away and abandoned one of our most important allies in a time of need.

During the height of the holiday season, the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution criticizing Israel for its construction of settlements in the West Bank. The settlements have long been the focal point of a contentious debate within the international community.

The United States has long maintained that any viable solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict must be the result of direct, bilateral negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, whose leadership has purposefully and continually obstructed efforts to reach peace. The U.N.'s attempt to unilaterally impose a one-sided "solution" undermines decades of work that has been put into the two-state solution. The U.N. Security Council's resolution condemning Israel only pushes us further away from reaching a peace accord by emboldening the anti-Israel states within the organization.

Given the U.N.'s long history of trying to delegitimize Israel, our relationship carries extra weight within the organization. Over thirty countries belonging to the U.N. do not even formally recognize the state of Israel, despite the fact that it has been a member state for over sixty years, so it should come as no surprise that these nations would seek to punish it.

President Obama should have loudly objected to the U.N. resolution and used our veto power in the Security Council for these reasons. Instead, by choosing to abstain on the vote, he abandoned our friend and ally in a time of need.

Congress is prepared to send the message that there should be no daylight between the United States and Israel. The U.S. House of Representatives already overwhelmingly passed a resolution that declares unwavering support for Israel and insists that the current and incoming administrations reject any future U.N. actions that are similarly "one-sided and anti-Israel." I am cosponsoring a similar resolution in the Senate and am working with my colleagues to bring it up for a vote.

The U.N. is a place where our voice matters. In this instance, our silence says all the wrong things. I am deeply disappointed in the vote condemning Israel, but I'm even more upset over President Obama's failure to use the United States' veto to stop this attack.

Israel is our greatest and sole democratic ally in the region. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress and President-elect Trump to reinforce our commitment to Israel.



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John Boozman, a successful businessman and life-long resident of Arkansas, was sworn in as U.S. Senator on Jan. 5, 2011. For five terms, John served the people of the Third District of Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives, establishing a reputation as an advocate for Arkansans and the needs of veterans and the state's economy.