UN vote actually ‘a victory for Israel,’ paves way for embassy move, ex-Labor MK says
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UN vote actually ‘a victory for Israel,’ paves way for embassy move, ex-Labor MK says

Einat Wilf says Resolution 2334 'clarifies the absolute legality of pre-1967 Israel, including west Jerusalem,' can provide basis for Trump to relocate embassy

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Einat Wilf (Courtesy)
Einat Wilf (Courtesy)

While Israeli politicians from across the political spectrum condemned the anti-settlements resolution passed Friday at the United Nations Security Council, a former Labor Party MK on Sunday called it a “victory for Israel.”

In a counterintuitive interpretation of the resolution, Einat Wilf, who served as Knesset member between 2010 and 2013, argued that the controversial text actually enshrines in international law Israel’s right to West Jerusalem and thus makes it easier for the US to move its embassy there.

UN Security Council Resolution 2334 is an important, if unintended, victory for Israel and Zionism. In it the UN Security Council provides the most resounding international and legal support yet for Israel within the 1949 ceasefire lines, including west Jerusalem,” she said in a statement Sunday.

Wilf, a native Jerusalemite, pointed to two sections of the resolution that she said were key to legitimizing Israel’s claims to West Jerusalem. For one, the text determines that Israeli settlement in territory captured in 1967, including East Jerusalem, “has no legal validity.” The resolution further calls on all states to “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”

Most Israeli politicians and pundits view those two sentences as the resolution’s most troubling, as they appear to invite boycotts of goods and people from the settlements.

But Wilf, who holds a PhD in political science from the University of Cambridge, chose to focus on the other side of the coin.

By drawing a clear distinction between Israel proper and the settlements, and declaring the settlements illegal, the Security Council “is essentially clarifying the absolute legality of the territory of Israel within the 1949 ceasefire lines, including west Jerusalem,” she noted. “This resolution could provide a Trump administration the international legal support for their policy of moving the US Embassy to west Jerusalem.”

The US embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 14, 2016. (Flash 90)
The US embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 14, 2016. (Flash 90)

The international community currently does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem. Israel conquered the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Six Day War, and subsequently annexed it and declared “united Jerusalem” its capital, leading all countries to move their embassies from Jerusalem to the Tel Aviv area.

The status of Jerusalem, the international community argues, needs to be determined by a final-status agreement between the parties.

US President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to implement a 1995 American law that stipulates the relocation the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Critics, chiefly among the Palestinians, have sharply condemned the planned move, arguing that it would predetermine the outcome of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

In this photo provided by the United Nations, members of the United Nations Security council vote at the United Nations headquarters on December 23, 2016, in favor of condemning Israel for its practice of establishing settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. In a striking rupture with past practice, the US allowed the vote, not exercising its veto. (Manuel Elias/The United Nations via AP)
In this photo provided by the United Nations, members of the United Nations Security council vote at the United Nations headquarters on December 23, 2016, in favor of condemning Israel for its practice of establishing settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. In a striking rupture with past practice, the US allowed the vote, not exercising its veto. (Manuel Elias/The United Nations via AP)
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