From Palestine Chronicle
There is no doubt that the UN Security Council condemnation of Israel on Friday was an important and noteworthy event.
True, the United Nations' main chambers (the Security Council and the General Assembly) and its various institutions, ranging from the International Court of Justice to the UN cultural agency, UNESCO, have repeatedly condemned the Israeli occupation, illegal Jewish settlements and mistreatment of Palestinians.
In fact, unlike the 23 December resolution 2334, the past UN condemnations were far stronger -- for some resolutions did not just demand an immediate halt of illegal Jewish settlement construction, but the removal of existing settlements as well.
There are up to 196 illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land, in addition to hundreds of settler outposts. These settlements host up to 600,000 Jewish settlers, who were moved there in violation of international law and, in particular, the Fourth Geneva Convention.
But what makes this particular resolution important?
First, the US neither vetoed the resolution nor threatened to use its veto power; nor did it even seriously lobby, as it often does to soften the wording in advance.
Second, it is the first decisive and clear condemnation of Israel by the UN Security Council in nearly eight years -- almost the entirety of President Barack Obama's terms in office.
Third, the vote took place despite extraordinary Israeli pressure on the current US administration, on the forthcoming administration of Donald Trump and successful pressure on Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi. Indeed, Egypt delayed the vote, which was scheduled a day earlier, before New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela stepped up and put the resolution to a vote, a day later.
Doubtless, the UN resolution -- like all others -- remains rather symbolic as long as there are no practical mechanisms to ensure the enforcement of international law.
Not only will Israel not respect the United Nations' will but is, in fact, already accelerating its settlement activities in the Jerusalem area, in defiance of that will.
The Jerusalem municipality had announced that 300 housing units will be built in the illegal settlements of Ramat Shlomo, Ramot and Bit Hanina while the Security Council members were preparing for the vote on the "legal invalidity" of the Jewish settlements.
The Palestinian National Authority, on the other hand, is already celebrating another symbolic "victory," which is readily being marketed to unamused Palestinians as a major step towards their freedom and their independent state.
The UN resolution was, indeed, keen on ensuring the two-state illusion is perpetuated further, which is all that the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas has needed to continue to push for an unattainable mirage.
With all this in mind, there is a lesson -- and a valuable one -- that must be registered at this moment: without US backing, Israel, with all of its might, is quite vulnerable and isolated in the international arena.