November 25, 2021 | The Algemeiner

The UN Must Reject Palestinian Rejectionism

November 25, 2021 | The Algemeiner

The UN Must Reject Palestinian Rejectionism

The United Nations reserves November 29, its International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, for robust anti-Israel activity. The day’s events inappropriately put the UN’s thumb on the scale in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, encouraging Palestinian obstinacy by normalizing Palestinian viewpoints.

November 29 marks the anniversary of the 1947 partition plan, which would have created an Arab state and a Jewish state in British Mandatory Palestine.

While the Jewish leadership accepted partition, Arab leaders rejected it, setting in motion more than seven decades of bloodshed. Now, many pro-Palestinian activists have embraced Solidarity Day as a repudiation of Israel’s existence.

In previous years, speakers at Solidarity Day events have falsely charged one of Israel’s founding fathers — David Ben-Gurion — with advocating ethnic cleansing; mendaciously accused Israel of perpetrating apartheid and ethnic cleansing; called for boycotts of Israel; and advocated a “free Palestine from the river to the sea,” which is a call to ethnically cleanse the land of Jews.

According to the UN, Solidarity Day provides an opportunity to focus on how the Palestinians have yet to “attain their inalienable rights,” including “the right to return” to Israel, as a UN advertisement put it. Yet the Palestinian “right to return” is fictitious, according to many international law experts, since it rests on non-legally binding documents, including a General Assembly resolution. Forcing Israel to accept an influx of potentially hostile individuals would infringe on the Jewish state’s right to security — a recipe for promoting violence and strife.

The UN event’s advertisement also highlights the participation of “Palestinian activist” Mohammed El-Kurd. El-Kurd has previously praised the violence of the Second Intifada, which occurred between 2000 and 2005, for terrorizing Israelis; he has described all Israelis as terrorists; and he also called for ethnically cleansing the land of Jews. Just this month, El-Kurd justified the murder of an Israeli civilian in Jerusalem by posting an old photo of the victim in an army uniform and falsely calling him a settler — which, in any case, is not an open license for murder.

Solidarity Day is also sandwiched between the General Assembly’s 16 annual end-of-year resolutions promoting the Palestinian agenda and castigating Israel. One resolution, titled “Occupied Syrian Golan,” even deplores Israel’s presence in the Golan — without mentioning the Syrian regime’s butchering of over half a million of its own people.

These efforts also empower the UN’s various Palestinian-specific bodies. For example, the Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR) oversees Solidarity Day and maintains a unit devoted to promoting the Palestinian narrative. The DPR purports to promote Palestinian rights, but such rights often come at Israel’s expense: The Palestinians seek to end security measures designed to prevent terrorism, such as the blockade of Gaza, checkpoints, and the security barrier.

Another body is the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices, which has a mandate to probe alleged Israeli crimes rather than Palestinian ones. The UN Register of Damages (UNRoD) helps Palestinians seek payment from Israel for hardships caused by Israel’s security barrier. The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), a refugee agency exclusively for Palestinians, keeps the Israeli-Palestinian conflict simmering by maintaining a uniquely expansive definition of refugees that enables their descendants to identify as such. In so doing, the agency encourages Palestinians to demand entry into Israel, rather than resettling and building a better life where they live.

Other UN bodies have Palestinian-specific divisions, such as the UN Conference on Trade and Development’s Assistance to the Palestinian People’s Unit. The Human Rights Council has a special rapporteur devoted to scrutinizing Israel; maintains a standing agenda item focused exclusively on Israel; and has assembled an ongoing commission of inquiry designed to punish Israelis in international courts.

In this context, the UN helps amplify the disparity between Palestinian expectations and reality. The UN ‘celebrated‘ Solidarity Day in 2012 by accepting the “State of Palestine” as a non-member observer state. This granted the Palestinians gains on paper without requiring any concessions to Israel. Yet the Palestinians can achieve real statehood only through negotiations with Israel, and a willingness to compromise. The UN’s activities make a Palestinian leadership — which has already rejected numerous Israeli peace offers — even less likely to compromise.

In light of the UN’s anti-Israel bias, the United States currently deducts 22 percent of the budgets of Palestinian-specific bodies from Washington’s total contributions to the UN. The US should increase this number to 100 percent. The US should also launch a campaign to convince countries to vote against resolutions that empower the Palestinian-specific bodies. The US should help eliminate these bodies, which create double standards for Israel and set back the cause of peace.

David May is a senior research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow David on Twitter at @DavidSamuelMay. FDD is a Washington, D.C.-based, nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.


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