The United Nations General Assembly voted 138-9 (with 41 abstentions) on Thursday to upgrade Palestine to a nonmember observer state of the United Nations. The New York Times story is here; the Washington Post story is here. The UN has posted an announcement here.
From its new perch the Palestinian Authority will have a few more tools to harass the legitimate government of Israel, but you can see why UN members would want to encourage the creation of a Palestinian state. It is a model of kleptocratic and otherwise malign governance.
Having blown through two self-granted extensions of his presidential term, Mahmoud Abbas is nearing the eighth year of his four-year term. Congratulations are in order.
Salam Fayyad was appointed the Prime Minister of the PA by Abbas in 2007, but he has has yet to be confirmed as such by the Palestinian Legislative Council. The Times and others nevertheless refer to Fayyad as the PA’s Prime Minister, and you can understand why that might be.
Fayyad is a little easier to deal with than Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, the man from Hamas. Having waged a bloody civil war against Abbas’s Fatah in the Gaza Strip, Hamas and Haniyeh exercise sole authority in that piece of the new state. When it comes to Palestinian statehood, the UN gets two for the price of one. It’s an irresistible deal.
Haniyeh is an active terrorist leader. Abbas has a storied terrorist past as Yasser Arafat’s right-hand man and a continuing lack of punctilio about legal niceties. Neither one wields a shred of legitimate political authority. And the territories over which they rule lack the basic institutions of civil society.
The countries opposing the action in the UN’s General Assembly form a small club. Let it be noted that the members of this exclusive club are Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, Panama, and the United States. The UN has posted the vote here.
“Palestine” fits right in with several of the regimes that supported the elevation of its status at the United Nations. One thinks of the criminals who run Sudan, Cuba, North Korea and other shining lights of that body. Welcome to the asylum.
UPDATE: On the question of the lack of institutions to support civil society on the West Bank, I cite Khaeld Abu Toameh:
It would help immensely if hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists came to the West Bank and Gaza Strip to teach Palestinian children English and expose them to the benefits of democracy and Western values, such as equal justice under law, free speech and a free press, and financial transparency and accountability
It would also help immensely if these activists came to the West Bank and Gaza Strip to offer advice on, and help in building, proper government institutions, and in combatting administrative and financial corruption.
But as far as many of the pro-Palestinian activists in the West are concerned, the interests of the Palestinians are not as important as hating Israel.