The bizarre Handover ceremony of Egypt’s Chairmanship of the Group of 77 to the “State of Palestine” for 2019 will enable this non-existent and non-member State of the United Nations to play a leading role in the 74 years old farce –“The Question of Palestine and the United Nations” (PUN).
“The State of Palestine” does not meet the criteria for statehood required under the 1933 Montevideo Convention.
The Group of 77 (“the Bloc”) contains 133 of the 193 member states of the United Nations– ensuring the automatic passage of all United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions they propose.
UNGA Resolution A/RES/73/5 - adopted on 16 October 2018 – put this illusory “State of Palestine” centre stage for PUN’s 2019 New York season – recognising it as the Bloc’s public face in all matters brought before UNGA and at meetings of representatives of other major groups.
146 countries voted for this Resolution whilst only three - Israel, the U.S. and Australia - voted against, 15 countries abstained and the remaining 29 states did not vote.
US Deputy UN Ambassador Jonathan Cohen called out the hypocrisy of the vote:
"We cannot support efforts by the Palestinians to enhance their status outside of direct negotiations. The United States does not recognize that there is a Palestinian state. … Only U.N. member states should be entitled to speak and act on behalf of major groups of states at the United Nations.""
Australia’s UN Ambassador Gillian Bird asserted:
"Australia's decision to vote no on this resolution reflects our long-standing position that Palestinian attempts to seek recognition as a state in international fora are deeply unhelpful to efforts towards a two-state solution."
The Handover Ceremony took place in the presence of UNGA President Ms. Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, UN Secretary General Mr. António Gutteres, Mahmoud Abbas – the self-styled “President of the State of Palestine” (formerly called “the Palestinian Authority” before Abbas unilaterally changed its name in 2013) and Bloc members.
Mr. Gutteres’ 12 minute speech contained this politically-charged statement:
“Palestine and its citizens have first-hand experience of some of the most challenging and dramatic global issues at force”
Regrettably the Secretary General failed to elaborate on where he believed “Palestine” is located, who he considers are its citizens, its capital, the area it controls and its current government.
The Handover Ceremony included a 1 hour concert featuring live performances of Astor Piazolla’s “Oblivion”, a Brahms sonata for violin and piano, five works by three Egyptian composers extending over 26 minutes and just 4 minutes of “Palestinian folk songs” whose provenance was not mentioned in the program notes.
One Egyptian composition - “Lessa Faker” – aptly describes the path UNGA needs to take to end this blatant “State of Palestine” fakery that flagrantly violates international law.
“Foreign Minister” of the “State of Palestine” Riyad Malki has impertinently predicted:
“… we are confident that [the Bloc] will support the Palestinians when it [sic] time comes for negotiations and the US will find out that it cannot ignore Palestine.”
Malki’s claim is risible.
America has denied the existence of any State of Palestine for the last seven decades. President Trump has closed the PLO diplomatic offices in Washington and ceased America’s annual payments of $360 million to UNRWA. The PLO refuses to entertain any Trump peace proposals designed to end the Arab-Jewish conflict.
President Trump’s response could well see him consigning the “State of Palestine” to diplomatic oblivion to the accompanying strains of Piazolla’s Oblivion – with the United Nations left lamenting at the wake that it holds for the phantom State.
Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog