February 18, 2019
The Palestinian leadership continues to avoid direct negotiations with Israel, preferring to use the United Nations as a tool to delegitimize the Jewish state. Their latest gambit was an attempt to initiate an official visit by the UN Security Council hosted by the Palestinian Authority to their stomping ground in the West Bank. Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, knew that the Palestinians were looking to exploit the Security Council's presence for propaganda purposes. He objected to Equatorial Guinea's ambassador to the UN, Anatolio Ndong Mba, who is currently president of the UN Security Council. Israel would be willing to host individual visits by UN ambassadors, he told Ambassador Mba, but not as part of a Palestinian initiative aimed at exploiting the Security Council visit for more propaganda fusillades aimed against Israel.
"The Palestinian initiative is part of an ongoing effort to present a false narrative to the international community," Ambassador Danon said. "Israel has hosted dozens of UN ambassadors from around the world in recent years, exposing them to the historical truth the Palestinians refuse to accept, and instead choose to engage in terrorism and incitement." Israel's ambassador noted the recent brutal murder of a 19-year-old Israeli girl and called upon the Security Council to act against the Palestinian Authority's "incitement campaign and policy of paying salaries to terrorists."
All 15 members of the Security Council must approve an official visit along with the countries concerned. Equatorial Guinea's delegation is still working on the matter. Hopefully he is on a fool's errand. Talking about foolishness, Kuwait's UN Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi, who currently serves on the Security Council, whined that "We want an official trip."
Recently, Kuwait, along with fellow Security Council member Indonesia, served as the Palestinians' shill in trying to get the Security Council to issue a press statement denouncing Israel's decision to suspend the presence of international observers stationed in Hebron for the ostensible purpose of protecting the Palestinians living there. The observers constituting what is known as the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, or TIPH for short, were seen by Israel as heavily biased against Israel in the performance of their duties. By its very title, the Temporary International Presence was not given a permanent mandate. It has been around for more than 20 years. Israel simply decided that the TIPH was no longer fulfilling its intended purpose and, therefore, Israel could no longer sign on to its continued open-ended presence.
A Security Council press release requires the unanimous approval of all 15 members. The United States objected to the press release proposed by Kuwait and Indonesia, denying the Palestinians another UN-sponsored propaganda vehicle. "TIPH observers used violence, created friction with the civilian population, and interfered with security forces," Ambassador Danon said. One observer, for example, had been expelled by Israel for slapping a 10-year-old Jewish boy in Hebron. This observer was the legal counsel of TIPH. Another had likewise been expelled for puncturing the tires of an Israeli-owned car in Hebron's Jewish quarter. No doubt the Palestinians' attempt to arrange an official Security Council trip to the West Bank had been designed in part to pressure Israel into keeping this travesty going.
Another UN travesty is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Its glaring flaws are too numerous to mention. Among them is UNRWA's continued use of blatantly anti-Israel textbooks in its schools, as documented in a report prepared last year by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that was just de-classified. The Trump administration discontinued U.S. funding of UNRWA last year because of its anti-Israel bias. The Trump administration's decision may have been motivated in part by the GAO report's findings. Indeed, the GAO criticized the State Department for having previously sugarcoated UNRWA's record in supposedly following through on promises to rectify the inflammatory anti-Semitic, anti-Israel content that had been found in the textbooks UNRWA used in its schools.
UNRWA shamelessly claimed in its response to the GAO report that its program strives to "realize the potential of all its Palestinian refugee students, to help them develop into confident, innovative, questioning, thoughtful, tolerant and open-minded critical thinkers, who uphold human values and tolerances, and contribute positively to the development of their society and the global community."
UNRWA has a peculiar sense of what it takes to help develop "thoughtful, tolerant and open-minded thinkers." The updated textbooks UNRWA-run schools have continued to use still contain lies intended to indoctrinate Palestinian children to hate Jews and reject the very idea of a Jewish state living side by side in peace with an independent Palestinian state.
For example, in one of the textbooks used by UNRWA within the last two years, Israel's membership in the UN organization itself was referred to as "The representative of the Occupation State at the UN." (Geography and Modern and Contemporary History of Palestine, Grade 10, Part 2 (2017) p. 41) Another textbook referred to Israel as an "artificial entity that derives its identity and the legitimacy of its existence from tales, legends and fantasies and has tried in various ways and methods to create material evidence for those legends, or archaeological and architectural proofs that would attest to their reality, but in vain" ((Arabic Language — Academic Path, Grade 10, part 2 (2017) pp. 70-71). The Jewish holy site of the Western Wall in Jerusalem was referred to only as the Al-Buraq Wall in yet another textbook (Islamic Education, Grade 5, Part 1 (2017) p. 54). It stated that "the Muslims alone have absolute right to it."
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has also carried water for the Palestinian narrative by denying in a resolution the incontrovertible historical Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and referring to the Western Wall only as Al-Buraq Plaza.
An official Security Council visit hosted by the Palestinian inciters of violence against civilians and masterful purveyors of anti-Semitic propaganda must not go forward. If it does, the UN will become even more complicit in the Palestinians' nefarious scheme to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state of Israel while rationalizing their rewarding of Palestinian terrorists.