Photo Credit: Flash 90 / Issam Rimawi
U.S. President Barack Obama and Palestinian Authority Leader Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah, March 21, 2013

{Originally posted to the Jerusalem Online website}

With the advent of the New Year, many things are about to change across the globe and especially in regards to American-Israeli relations.  In a couple of weeks, the United States will have a new President, who views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict very differently from his predecessor. Unlike US President Barack Obama, who views settlement construction to be the main obstacle to peace and who gave the greenlight to the UN Security Council to pass a resolution declaring Jewish construction over the green line including in East Jerusalem to be illegal, Donald Trump has vowed to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and to give Israel the liberty to do what is necessary to fulfill its security needs.


With the initiation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, the Palestinians sought to push UN Security Council Resolution 242 out the window for it demands that the Arab countries grant Israel “secure and recognized” borders while at the same time not demanding that Israel withdraw from all of the territories over the 1967 Armistice Lines.   Most importantly, the new UN Security Council Resolution does not demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state nor does it deal with Palestinian terrorism and incitement except to make a generalized statement against “all acts of violence against civilians including acts of terror and incitement” while calling upon the Palestinian Authority Security Forces to remain committed to fighting against terrorism.  In fact, the language against Israeli settlement construction and Israel’s presence over the green line was much stronger than the generalized statement against terrorism that did not specify even who was doing the terrorism. It was a one-sided unilateral resolution entirely in Abu Mazen’s favor.

Meanwhile, the new UN Security Council Resolution assists the Palestinians in building a case for the International Criminal Court if Israel does not comply and it also works to strengthen the BDS Movement in Europe, who needed a resolution such as this to convince Europe to boycott officially all settlement products. From the Palestinians perspective, only another UN Security Council Resolution can undo this damage and this is very unlikely even if Trump places an enormous amount of pressure upon a series of countries. Therefore, they seek to exploit the outgoing Obama administration to their advantage in order to create as many facts such as this on the ground as possible.

Although UN Security Council Resolution 2334 has no practical effects as it is non-binding for it was created under Chapter 6 instead of Chapter 7 of the UN Security Council, it can lead to follow-up action and this is precisely what the Palestinians seek to do during the last days of the Obama administration. Thus, the Palestinians seek to set up conditions for future negotiations that leave Israel with little room to bargain. From now on, the indefensible Auschwitz borders will be their starting point in all future negotiations and with the backing of a UN Security Council Resolution, they believe that Donald Trump has little room to maneuver in Israel’s favor.  In other words, before Donald Trump has even entered into office, the Palestinians have succeeded to engrain the principle of terror pays into the international discourse with the outgoing Obama administration.

This reality was brought into fruition by the increased Palestinian terrorism in recent years. From the Knife Intifada to the wave of arson attacks not too long ago, the Palestinians were preparing the stage to remain relevant in a Donald Trump era.  By engaging in so much terror towards the end of the Obama administration, the Palestinian Authority sought to convince the world that they were so desperate and in so much despair because of so-called Israeli settlement construction that they were provoked into engaging in acts of wanton violence and destruction.

As I demonstrated in my recent book titled Women and Jihad, “Terrorists do not engage in meaningless violence.  Each terrorist act is carefully choreographed by terror organizations in order to achieve maximum publicity for the terrorists’ cause.  For terror organizations, the goal is not to harm the innocent victims, although that is certainly a bi-product of their wanton destruction but rather to solicit the attention of the wider spectators.” In this case, the wider spectators were the US government and international community at large, who bought into the narrative that every wave of terror has political roots that originated due to Palestinian misery, suffering and despair.  Whether Palestinian misery in reality is truly caused because of Israel or because of the Palestinian leaderships’ actions, the international community led by the Obama administration doesn’t care. They blame Israel anyways for they bought into the Palestinian publicity stunts.

Therefore, to the great fortune of the Palestinian Authority leadership, their whole public relations strategy paid off. The Obama administration, who has a long history of supporting appeasement of terrorism and bought into their narrative from day one regarding the Israeli settlements being the main obstacle for peace, in recent days is no longer constrained by Jewish donors to the Democratic Party nor American public opinion nor the US Congress.  Obama is now a lame duck President. Therefore, when Obama saw that Donald Trump won the election, thus placing Obama’s whole vision for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in danger of being discontinued by the United States, he felt compelled to create facts on the ground in order to orchestrate revenge against Netanyahu for standing up to him regarding the Iran nuclear deal and Donald Trump for successfully leading a campaign against his entire worldview. Therefore, via giving into the Palestinian public relations strategy to stay relevant in the Donald Trump era, Obama found a way for his obsolete vision to also stay on the table under a Donald Trump presidency.

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Rachel Avraham is the CEO of the Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy and an Israel-based journalist. She is the author of "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media."