Who is the real winner in the passing of U.N. Resolution 2334 condemning Israeli "settlements" in so-called Palestinian land? It is not the Arabs who live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, nor the leftist BDS movement, nor the world community which acted in usual blind lock-step in condemning Israel, or even the Obama administration which sacrificed American stature and credibility to express personal pique, though all appear to be gleefully rubbing grubby hands. The real winner is radical Islam, which the aforementioned parties claim to oppose.
For all the talk of preserving a "two-state" solution between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, and its attendant equivocating between Arab violence and incitement and the peaceful building of Jewish homes, the real heart 2334 is the first paragraph, which states that the Resolution
Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law…
That "international law" is the creation of U.N. Security Council, which invents such law with the passage of resolutions, regardless of whether standard principles of law-making, such as precedent, judicial or statutory authority are present. If the U.N.S.C. passed a resolution declaring Mars and its "inhabitants" a country, that would be international law. Its resolutions on Israel are almost pure exercises in self-referential circular reasoning. But that does not mean that they are without legal or practical impact, especially when endorsed by the United States, still -- if barely -- the world's preeminent power.
With Resolution 2334 the U.N.S.C. and the United States (thanks to President Obama) have endorsed and enshrined in international law the idea that Jerusalem is a historically Arab city, a bit of myth-making that could have come directly from an ISIS spokesman. For while it is a fact that Jerusalem (East and West) is and mostly has been a Jewish city, about which there can be no reasonable historical cavil, it has been the mission of Islam to convince otherwise.
That Islamic mission is part and parcel of the broader Muslim conception which sees Islam as the true and culminating expression of the god of Abraham. By extension Jews and Christians are, at best, deluded inauthentic monotheists, who may pay to be tolerated by Muslims, but nothing more. Denying Jerusalem's Jewish identity denies its Christian identity as well. Thus, this resolution is as much an attack on Christians and Christianity as it is on "Israeli settlement activity."
A couple days before the passage of the Resolution 2334, historian Bat Ye'or carefully delineated the U.N.'s continuing attack not only on Israel but on the West and Christianity in criticizing last April's Jerusalem Declaration of UNESCO which ignores historical Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and declares the entire area Muslim. Unlike U.N.S.C. resolutions, the decisions of UNESCO's executive council are not considered binding international law, but taken in conjunction with Resolution 2334 that is now the practical effect.
This is yet another example of how Islam, including its most radical adherents, is winning the war of ideas with the Judeo-Christian West, a war that has been going on physically and intellectually since Mohammed's first "revelation" in the early 7th Century.
From the start, Mohammed was acutely aware that to spread the new faith he had to give it legitimacy in the eyes of pre-Islamic pagan Arabs who were already gravitating toward monotheistic beliefs, some tribes having already adopted Christianity or Judaism. Mohammed supplied this legitimacy in large part by tying Allah's revelations to existing belief systems, pagan and monotheistic alike. Thus, the Quran famously references Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and several other notable New and Old Testament figures. Per Mohammed these men were all Muslim prophets whose words and deeds were misinterpreted by the Christians and Jews who created the Old and New Testaments.
So obviously, Christians and Jews have long presented a problem for Islam. Mohammed believed that they would be eager converts to Islam, since they were already monotheists and Allah's "revelations" acknowledged those Christian and Jewish prophets. When this did not happen, Mohammed and his successors variously slaughtered, enforced conversions or reduced the status of the "people of the book" and taxed them.
Jerusalem plays an important role in this process as I explained in detail here. While Jerusalem in not mentioned in the Quran, supposedly, early in Mohammed's time in Medina -- possibly to encourage Jewish conversion to Islam -- Muslims prayed toward Jerusalem. Mohammed gave this up after a few months and turned toward Mecca.
Islam's second caliph, the very capable Umar, captured Jerusalem a few years after Mohammed's death. He deliberately chose the Temple Mount, where the Jewish temple stood and where Jesus walked, as the site of Islam's first work of monumental architecture, the Dome of the Rock. He claimed the space for Islam not only physically, but spiritually, asserting that the rocky outcrop within the shrine was the very rock upon which Abraham took Isaac to be sacrificed, and Muslim scholars began to claim that the "furthest precinct" referenced in the Quran as part of Mohammed's "night journey" was Jerusalem.
Of course, this was a lot of hooey and still is. Certainly, medieval and later Christians didn't buy it, nor Jerusalem's Jews then or now, but evidently President Obama and the U.N.S.C. does. Because between the UNESCO decision and Resolution 2334 it now appears that "international law" (with the concurrence of the sitting U.S. Government) establishes East Jerusalem with the Temple Mount and its ancient Jewish Quarter as historical Arab territory, although it most assuredly is not.
Unlike the New and Old Testaments, the Quran eschews narrative. It is neither a story nor a history. Muslims believe it is the direct revelation of Allah given to Mohammed as Allah saw fit, which is not man's role to question. In failing to veto Resolution 2334 in the wake of the UNESCO move, the United States along with the rest of the international community, has now officially bought into the Islamic version of Jerusalem's history, and with that, effectively the Muslim assertion of divine revelation in support of Islamic activity and the implementation of international law. That is a godsend to Islamic terrorists and they will see it that way too.