Where’s the Coverage? Egyptian Paper Claims US Colluded with Palestinians on UN Vote

According to Egyptian sources, high-ranking members of the Obama administration did in fact meet with Palestinian Authority (PA) officials prior to the presentation and passage of the anti-Israel U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, despite their subsequent denials. Many major U.S. news outlets have failed to report on the story and the alleged evidence that has since emerged of the meeting.

As CAMERA noted in its backgrounder on the topic, United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2334 on Dec. 23, 2016. The resolution asserted that Israeli settlements have “no legal validity” and are a “flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution (“Res. 2334: Game Changer or Not?” Dec. 24, 2016).”

The resolution was passed under Chapter 6 of the U.N. Charter and is thus considered advisory; it does not create any binding obligations and its passage does not make settlements “illegal.” However, its passage is certain to aid anti-Israel boycott activists and embolden others who seek to unfairly single out the Jewish state for opprobrium.

Action beyond abstaining

The United States, in contrast to its recent history of vetoing anti-Israel resolutions, chose instead to abstain and let 2334 pass and——despite protests from administration officials to the contrary——may have even helped organize its passage.

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a non-profit organization that translates Arab, Iranian and Russian media, “On December 27, the Egyptian daily Al-Youm Al-Sabi’, which is close to Egyptian intelligence services, published an expose of the minutes of the secret talks.”

Al-Youm Al-Sabi’ reported that Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee secretary Saeb Erekat, PA general intelligence chief Majid Faraj, PA presidential adviser Husam Zomlot, among other top Palestinian officials, met with U.S. officials prior to the resolutions introduction. The daily noted:

“The Palestinian side began its meetings on December 12, when Saeb Erekat and Majid Faraj met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The next day, the two met with National Security Advisor Susan Rice. The entire delegation met with an American team that included our representatives of the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, for a six-hour strategic meeting. Majid Faraj concluded his visit with a lengthy meeting with the CIA chief.”

According to MEMRI’s translation, “the minutes of the meeting reveal American-Palestinian cooperation regarding the resolution on the settlements.” Moreover, “The U.S.’s representative to the Security Council coordinated with the Palestinian ambassador on the issue of the resolution condemning the settlements.”

With peace partners like these…

As CAMERA has noted, that Palestinian representative to the U.N., Riyad Mansour, has previously accused Israel of harvesting the organs of terrorists——invoking a centuries old antisemitic blood libel (“Palestinian T.V. Favorite Accuses Israel of Harvesting Terrorists’ Organs,” Nov. 11, 2015). Mansour is not the only member of the Palestinian delegation to engage in anti-Jewish incitement.

Saeb Erekat, a frequent media favorite, has praised Palestinian terrorists imprisoned for indiscriminately targeting and murdering Israelis. Speaking of these terrorists, in an Oct. 19, 2016 edition of the official PA daily newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Erekat proclaimed, “We bow our heads in admiration and honor of the prisoners’ sacrifice, for their acts of heroism……”

In his Dec. 28, 2016 hour-long speech at the State Department, Secretary of John Kerry attacked Israel and sought to justify the U.S. abstaining on 2334. In his speech, the Secretary briefly, as The Washington Post, among others, has noted, “Kerry……also condemned Palestinian incitement to violence as a barrier to direct negotiations. But his focus was on defending the Obama administration’s policies (“Kerry condemns growth of Israeli settlements,” December 29).” Such incitement to violence clearly did not inhibit direct U.S. negotiations with the Palestinians.

Tho doth protest too much

Members of the Obama administration have denied that a meeting with Palestinian officials took place prior to the vote. Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, also claimed that the decision to vote to abstain was made the morning of the vote. Similarly, White House National Security Council official Ned Price called such claims a “total fabrication”——even though, as CAMERA’s Gidon Shaviv pointed out, evidence of the meeting can be found on the State Department’s official schedule for Sec. Kerry, which is posted online (“White House on Defense After Being Exposed as Architect of Anti-Israel U.N. Action,” Washington Free Beacon, December 29).

Despite the mounting circumstantial evidence, many U.S. news outlets have failed to report on allegations that the meetings place. Others, such as Politico (see, for example “Kerry to Israel: We support you but can’t defend ‘right-wing agenda,’” December 28), have sought to paint claims of the meetings occurrence as merely an accusation by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said that he had “iron-clad” proof of the Obama administrations’ collusion with Palestinian officials, including Erekat and Mansour.

MEMRI’s report can be found here.

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