Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas took over on Tuesday as chairman of the Group of 77, a bloc within the United Nations that was created to coordinate multinational efforts to help lift millions of people around the world out of poverty.
The United Nations billed it as “an historic moment.” It certainly was, but not the kind of moment they had in mind. More like “a day that will live in infamy.”
Of course, the impresarios of this international farce did not see it that way. General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces was the one who invoked the dubious imprimatur of history.
Secretary-General António Guterres also welcomed “the historic leadership of the state of Palestine” as the new chair. “You are well-placed to take up the chairmanship of this important group of countries,” Guterres said.
Well-placed? The entity known as the Palestinian Authority is really not well-placed to do anything at the United Nations, since it is not a state and is not a member of that august body.
As former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley noted after the vote, “The Palestinians are not a U.N. member state or any state at all. The United States will continually point that out in our remarks at U.N. events led by the Palestinians.
“Today’s U.N. mistake undermines the prospects for peace by encouraging the illusion held by some Palestinian leaders that they can advance their goals without direct peace negotiations. In fact, today’s vote does nothing to help the Palestinian people,” Haley said.
This plain statement of the fact of Palestinian statelessness seems entirely to have eluded the UNGA. Instead, they colluded in the fiction propagated by the Palestinians for years, and by Abbas again on Tuesday, that he represents “the state of Palestine.”
At the U.N. meeting, Abbas called for a two-state resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with eastern Yerushalayim as its capital. One wonders if such a state already exists, whether the perpetual calls for a two-state solution are not superfluous.
Supposedly, the Palestinians will now preside over ongoing efforts by the group (actually 134 countries; the name was retained to reflect the original 77 charter members) to improve living conditions in developing countries.
But it didn’t take long for Abbas to unveil his true agenda. In a tweet on Tuesday, he lashed out at Israel, saying that its “colonization and occupation of the State of Palestine undermines our development & capacity for cooperation and coordination and obstructs cohesive future development for all peoples of the region.”
PA “negotiator” Saeb Erekat furnished a gloss of the proceedings, if any was necessary, in which he said that the move “signifies the recognition of the international community of Palestinian statehood and our right to self-determination. Despite the reality under Israel’s military occupation, Palestine can play a significant role within the global system.”
Abbas gave the usual lip-service to condemning terrorism, as if he and his cohorts were not among the leading promoters of terrorism in the world. “The state of Palestine has adopted 83 protocols with 83 countries throughout the world to put an end to this scourge and to fight against terrorism, and I call on all states to work with us to combat terrorism,” he said. (Except, of course, when it comes to Israel.)
After the meeting, Israel’s ambassador Danny Danon pointed out that, while Abbas claims he’s committed to helping the developing nations, his PA “pays terrorists’ salaries from its budget that should be used for its infrastructure and development.”
“This will not help the Palestinian people and will be an abuse of the G77’s goals,” he said.
Fortunately, not all the General Assembly’s members succumbed to the prevailing fantasy; the blindness to the blood on Abbas’s hands was not total. Three nations — the United States, Australia and Israel — stood up against the 146 who voted for Palestinian accession. There were 15 abstentions.
Even among the 146 were those who pointedly differentiated between approval of the chairmanship and the matter of statehood.
“Our vote today should not be construed as a vote in recognition of the state of Palestine,” Germany said, and The Netherlands and the United Kingdom made similar demurrals. And during the UNGA meeting, officials repeatedly dropped the phrase “state of Palestine” in their comments, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Apparently, even in the halls of the United Nations, the capacity for embarrassment amid such travesty has not been totally obliterated — yet.