The Palestinian Authority Joins the Chemical-Weapons Convention to Spite Israel

June 14 2018

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an independent international body that generally works in tandem with the UN, recently announced that it has admitted the “State of Palestine” as a member. To Raphael Ofek, allowing a nonexistent state to join the OPCW “borders on the absurd.”

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has no access to either offensive or defensive chemical-weapons technology and is not itself threatened by chemical weapons. Furthermore, it is 30 years since the Saddam Hussein regime murdered thousands of Iraqi Kurds in a chemical attack on the city of Halabja, but the PA has never uttered a word of condemnation. Nor has the PA ever condemned the use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad’s army in the Syrian civil war against either armed opposition forces or the civilian population. . . .

The PA’s accession to the OPCW can thus only be explained as one more step in its campaign to win recognition from international organizations so as to use them as springboards for denigrating Israel. [For instance, the] PA joined the UN’s cultural agency, UNESCO, on November 23, 2011. Note UNESCO’s subsequent one-sided approach against Israel. . . . On April 1, 2015, the PA became a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, which it seeks to exploit to sue Israel for alleged war crimes. . . .

While part of the drive behind these moves is the desire of senior PA officials to come and go in the halls of international organizations, their central object is to advance the PA’s agenda by using these various forums to denounce and delegitimize Israel.

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More about: Bashar al-Assad, Chemical weapons, ICC, Palestinian Authority, Politics & Current Affairs, Saddam Hussein

No, Israelis and Palestinians Can’t Simply Sit Down and Solve the “Israel-Palestinian Conflict”

Jan. 17 2019

By “zooming out” from the blinkered perspective with which most Westerners see the affairs of the Jewish state, argues Matti Friedman, one can begin to see things the way Israelis do:

Many [in Israel] believe that an agreement signed by a Western-backed Palestinian leader in the West Bank won’t end the conflict, because it will wind up creating not a state but a power vacuum destined to be filled by intra-Muslim chaos, or Iranian proxies, or some combination of both. That’s exactly what has happened . . . in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. One of Israel’s nightmares is that the fragile monarchy in Jordan could follow its neighbors . . . into dissolution and into Iran’s orbit, which would mean that if Israel doesn’t hold the West Bank, an Iranian tank will be able to drive directly from Tehran to the outskirts of Tel Aviv. . . .

In the “Israeli-Palestinian” framing, with all other regional components obscured, an Israeli withdrawal in the West Bank seems like a good idea—“like a real-estate deal,” in President Trump’s formulation—if not a moral imperative. And if the regional context were peace, as it was in Northern Ireland, for example, a power vacuum could indeed be filled by calm.

But anyone using a wider lens sees that the actual context here is a complex, multifaceted war, or a set of linked wars, devastating this part of the world. The scope of this conflict is hard to grasp in fragmented news reports but easy to see if you pull out a map and look at Israel’s surroundings, from Libya through Syria and Iraq to Yemen.

The fault lines have little to do with Israel. They run between dictators and the people they’ve been oppressing for generations; between progressives and medievalists; between Sunnis and Shiites; between majority populations and minorities. If [Israel’s] small sub-war were somehow resolved, or even if Israel vanished tonight, the Middle East would remain the same volatile place it is now.

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More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle East