This is exactly the right kind of advice Trump should be listening to…
The U.S. decision to allow a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements to pass was met with bipartisan condemnation, including from leading players in efforts to achieve a two-state solution, such as Democrats Dennis Ross and George Mitchell.
Of course, the goal of the Obama administration was to box in President-elect Donald Trump’s foreign policy. The most direct way to reject the Security Council Resolution 2334 is to reject the opinions it expresses and act against its recommendations. Trump will likely seek to reverse the measure, not only because of substantial policy disagreements, but to reject the notion that a president can bind his successors more tightly through U.N. action than through statutes or executive orders.
Trump cannot directly reverse the resolution, but he and Congress can take action to negate its ideas, and to create a different reality from the one Resolution 2334 seeks to promote. Here are some ideas — most of which require no legislative action.
1) The U.S. must clearly declare that Israeli settlements do not violate international law. The Security Council resolution says that Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem are illegal and that the Israeli government must prevent them. But the council is neither a legislature nor a court. It cannot create international law. But while Resolution 2334 is not binding, it does contribute to the formation of international legal opinion, which is why the United States must clearly articulate a contrary (and correct) view.
The Security Council’s broad and general condemnation of any Jewish presence whatsoever in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank is a unique rule invented for Israel. There has never been a prolonged belligerent occupation — from the U.S. occupation of West Berlin to Turkey’s ongoing occupation of Cyprus to Russia’s of Crimea — where the occupying power has blocked its citizens from living in the territory under its control. Moreover, neither the United Nations nor any other international body has ever suggested they must do so. What is being demanded of Israel in its historical homeland has never been demanded of any other state, and never will be.