Today, for the first time since 1967, the United States abstained on a UN Security Council resolution, condemning Jewish settlements in the “occupied territories.” Because the U.S. abstained, rather than vetoing the resolution, the resolution passed. This abstention is a departure from the policy of 8 previous U.S. Presidents, Democrat and Republican, from Lyndon Johnson through George W. Bush.
The "occupied territories" as defined in the resolution include all of Jerusalem, including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. They include the lands covered by the Gush Etzion settlements, which were settled by Jews prior to 1948, but were overrun by the Jordanian Army in 1948. For that matter, they also include all of Yehuda and Shomron (the so-called West Bank"), even areas that no political leader in Israel, not Likud, not Labor, no one but the extreme far Left, would consider ceding to a new Palestinian State as part of a peace treaty. From today on, a Jew who adds on a bedroom to his apartment in Efrat or French Hill has violated a UN Security Council Resolution. Today, for the first time, all of the settlements in Yehuda and Shomron exist in violation of a Security Council resolution. Unlike General Assembly Resolutions, which are essentially meaningless, a Security Council Resolution has real consequences under international law, including providing a legal basis for enforcement action by UN member states, including boycotts, trade embargos, military and economic sanctions, or perhaps even worse.
At this early date, before President-Elect Donald Trump takes office, I have no idea what the new Administration's policy toward Israel will be, although all signs to date are positive. Mr. Trump publicly decried the resolution and the U.S. plan to abstain prior to its passage, and even persuaded Egypt to temporarily withdraw it (only to have it reinstated by other UN member nations). I cannot say, and we may never know, what the policies of a Clinton Administration would have been.
However, one may judge with certainty the actions of President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the left-wing American Jewish organizations, such as J-Street, who supported this change in American foreign policy. The pettiness and vindictiveness of such an action by President Obama as he leaves office cannot be overemphasized. The consequences of today’s abstention remain to be revealed in God's good time, and as He wills. Yet whatever transpires, the stain on the Obama Administration, on all Democratic Party politicians and leaders who do not condemn this abstention forcefully and publicly, and on J-Street and their fellow travelers, is indelible.