Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton blamed the Obama administration for failing to block the U.N.’s defacto recognition Thursday of a sovereign Palestinian state, saying the White House never took the issue “seriously.”
“This is a reflection of an ongoing failure by the Obama administration to take this issue seriously,” Bolton told Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren Thursday night, adding that the president should have moved more forcefully in October, when the Palestinian Authority was made a member of the U.N. and its affiliated organizations.
“It never should have been. Palestine is not a state,” Bolton said. “That’s a fact. And when the U.N. engages in this kind of activity, it just shows a real lack of administration commitment to stop it from happening.”
Bolton said the Obama administration could have taken a page from the playbook of former Secretary of State James Baker more than two decades ago when a similar effort to change the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s observer status at the U.N. from an “entity” to a “non-member state,” the same status held by the Vatican.
“We’ve been through this before. We did this 20 years ago and defeated the Palestinians,” Bolton said. “And this is how we did it. Secretary of State Jim Baker issued a statement saying he would recommend to the president that the United States make no further contributions, voluntary or assessed, to any international organization which makes any change in the PLO’s status as an observer organization.
“If the administration had simply done what Jim Baker did 20 years ago, this thing would have been deader than a doornail,” Bolton added.
The former ambassador, now a Fox News contributor, said he sees plenty of trouble ahead as the United States, Israel and other nations react to the new Palestinian status.
Pointing to Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who has threatened to introduce legislation to cut off U.N. aid, Bolton suggested that other members of Congress could move as well to end funding for other U.N.-affiliated groups with which the Palestinians can now claim association.
He said Israel should also prepare seriously for a move by the Palestinians to take complaints about Israel to the international criminal court now that they have standing in the U.N.
He noted that it would be “a big mistake on their part” for Israel to downplay the problems that such a move could create.
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