Past week Ukraine was among the 14 countries of the UN Security Council who voted “for” the Resolution No. 2334, demanding that “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.” The US, the country with the power of veto – a traditional Israel’s ally – abstained and therefore this resolution has been successfully adopted for the first time since 2011.
Ukraine, just like every other country that supported this resolution, felt the consequences immediately. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately condemned the document and recalled the ambassadors from every country that voted for it. Moreover, he canceled the visit of Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman, which was due on December 27-28.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has responded to criticism. The Ministry’s statement upholds that the resolution is balanced, as “it calls for taking the means necessary for the peaceful settlement of the conflict from both the Israeli and the Palestinian side – Israel must stop the settlement activity and the Palestinian authorities must take effective measures to combat terrorism.”
In addition, the document emphasizes that “Ukraine has repeatedly condemned the settlement activities of Israel, because it is contrary to international law. We also condemn violence and the incitement for it on behalf of the Palestinian side.”
Moreover, the Foreign Ministry notes that the Ukrainian-Israeli relations have always been “based on mutual respect and common interests” and expresses confidence that “the active and emotional internal debate in Israel” will not interfere with this relationship.
l “WE MUST STICK TO PRINCIPLES ON EVERY ISSUE”
Hryhorii PEREPELYTSIA, Doctor
of Political Sciences, conflictologist, professor at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv:
“Our Ministry of Foreign Affairs has explained that everything was done correctly. In particular, Israel must stop its settlement policy, and the Palestinian Authority must stop terror. This statement is absolutely correct in terms of Ukraine’s interests, since it all is applicable to our relations with Russia, which has annexed our territory and sent Russian troops to the occupied territories.
“Firstly, we prioritize peaceful resolution of conflicts through negotiations, and secondly, settlement-aided occupation is wrong. So, I think the Ukrainian position was reasonable, and a clear explanation was provided why Ukraine had decided to vote in the affirmative.
“Ukraine supported neither the Palestinian nor the Israeli side. It just declared its intention to stick to the principles on which the entire international law relies and which we try to leverage to solve our conflict with Russia.
“As for the consequences, we must stick to principles on every issue, and not engage in opportunism.”
l “THIS SITUATION WAS INCORRECTLY ANALYZED WHICH LED TO WRONG CONCLUSIONS”
Viacheslav SHVED, head of the department of Asian and African history at the Institute of World History, the National Academy
of Sciences of Ukraine:
“Here, indeed, Ukraine was in a conundrum. And it was very hard to choose the right path. In this case, we can say that a major, strategic error has been committed, that has spoiled our relationship with Israel for a long time which was already very strained recently for many reasons of historical nature. Yet somehow, we were succeeding in smoothing things along for a time. Israel was becoming an ally of ours in the fight against Russian aggression, for the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and for the reform. Meanwhile, supporters of another position, one that was actually implemented during the voting, have been saying that Ukraine could not act contrary to the principles of opposing the use of foreign territories in the case of Israeli settlement construction in the Palestinian Territories. We can say that both sides have very strong supporting arguments.
“One needs to consider a set of programs to understand how the Ukraine ought to act in this situation. Firstly, whether we voted for the resolution or not, it would have had virtually no impact on the fate of the Palestinian people in today’s real international situation. Secondly, one should pay attention to the leading Arab countries that currently determine the nature of that bloc’s development. These are primarily Saudi Arabia and other members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, which are unquestioned leaders of the Arab world, and they have effectively abandoned the Palestinian issue. Moreover, because of their geopolitical interests related to direct confrontation with Iran, they have opted for a maximum rapprochement with Israel, including direct contacts between the intelligence services and military experts and aiming to create a united anti-Iranian front.”
“We ought to take into account the fact that Trump, like it or not, will be the most pro-Israeli US president in 25 years. He stands together with the right wing of the Israeli leadership. And we ought to seriously consider it, because we really need the support of the highly influential Jewish community now, including their lobbyists on the world stage and especially in the US.
“This does not mean that we should agree with all the trends in Israel’s Middle East policy regarding the Palestinian problem or some other issue. But we have to understand that for us today, the Israeli development model is very useful. After all, we have been in a state of war for several years, repelling aggression of the most powerful and cruel enemy, thus we have a lot to learn from Israel. That country did not find defending itself an easy task, but it still managed to create a highly modern economy, develop science and technology.
“In my opinion, this situation was incorrectly analyzed which led to wrong conclusions and ultimately resulted in a wrong decision. Meanwhile, Israel’s response was 100 percent as expected. It came because they believed that the two countries had achieved mutual understanding lately on many vital issues, and then they got sorely disappointed.
“And we must note that even though the resolution itself is ostensibly fair, it is mostly propaganda. In fact, it will not help the Palestinian people in the slightest. We see that the most influential nations of the Arab world have effectively bought off the Palestinian problem, since for several decades already, they have used it only to have an external image of the enemy to divert their masses’ attention from their failure to implement the necessary reforms and to direct their anger at the Israelis claiming that the latter were to blame for everything. They engage in it instead of learning from the Israelis how to reform the society, how to develop democracy and a strong military, and eventually seek ways to synergize Israel’s vigor, experience, and creativity with human and natural resources of the Arab world.
“Now we need to look for ways to at least reduce the negative impact brought by our supportive vote on that resolution.”