From Foreign Policy’s Colum Lynch on “Turtle Bay”:
The U.S. informed Arab governments Tuesday that it will support a U.N. Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body “does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.
But the Palestinians rejected the American offer following a meeting late Wednesdy [sic] of Arab representativs [sic] and said it is planning to press for a vote on its resolution Friday, according to officials familar [sic] with the issue. The decision to reject the American offer raised the prospect that the Obama adminstration [sic] will cast its first ever veto in the U.N. Security Council.
The Palestinians are seeing what’s rolling across the Arab world, which manifested in a sacked pharaoh in Egypt, obviously believing that this is the moment to press for it all, which would undoubtedly get vetoed.
Needless to say the Right is freaking out, as you can witness here, here, here, here for starters. Other framing so far is that the Obama administration signing on to a U.N. Security Council to reaffirm that Israeli settlements are illegitimate is “a major reversal” of U.S. policy.
It’s not a reversal of what Pres. Obama has said publicly, but to do so inside the U.N. Security Council is different.
Rep. Andy Weiner is having none of it. Via Ben Smith:
This is too clever by half. Instead of doing the correct and principled thing and vetoing an inappropriate and wrong resolution, they now have opened the door to more and more anti-Israeli efforts coming to the floor of the U.N. The correct venue for discussions about settlements and the other aspects of a peace plan is at the negotiating table. Period.
Mr. Weiner is wrong, but he’s also a New York Democrat.
On another tract, Rep. Ron Paul is trying to get $6 billion of U.S. Middle East aide cut. Via Josh Rogin:
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), have not been shy about their desire to end all U.S. foreign aid. This week, the elder member of the Paul family is seeking a full House vote on an amendment that would cut $6 billion of U.S. aid to a host of Middle East countries.
Rep. Paul is trying to build support for an amendment to the fiscal 2011 funding bill that would end all foreign assistance to Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Pakistan. The funding bill currently being debated by the House, called the continuing resolution (CR), is needed to keep the government running after March 4.
If you didn’t think the world had changed enough lately, just a reminder.