Why the Palestinian Authority’s Failure to Join the Universal Postal Union Matters

Sept. 25 2019

Last year, Mahmoud Abbas’s government submitted requests to join several international organizations generally open only to UN member states, including the United Nations Universal Postal Union (UPU), which coordinates mail deliveries among countries. The effort failed to get the requisite number of votes last week. To David May, UPU membership was not a mere bureaucratic formality, but part of an effort to create a Palestinian state without negotiations with Israel, in violation of the Oslo Accords:

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), acting under the name of the “state of Palestine,” has for eight years been angling to become the 194th country recognized by the UN, a campaign known as “Palestine 194.” The United States and Israel have discouraged this initiative on the grounds that it removes one of the most important incentives for Palestinian leaders to negotiate with Israel, namely the promise of statehood.

[In 2011], the PLO gained membership at the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization [UNESCO]. This triggered a Clinton-era American law that prevents the United States from funding any UN agency or affiliate that “grants full membership” to non-states. . . . The next major step for the Palestinians came when the UN General Assembly recognized the “state of Palestine” as a non-member observer state in 2012, an upgrade from its status as a non-state observer. This change allowed the Palestinians to sign UN treaties.

Israel fears that the Palestinians could use their membership in international organizations as a weapon. For example, Palestinian membership at the International Criminal Court (ICC) has dramatically increased the threat of spurious war-crimes lawsuits against the Jewish state.

Rejection by the Universal Postal Union was a clear defeat for Palestine 194, which [heretofore] appeared to be on a clear path toward success.

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More about: Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, United Nations

For the Time Being, Palestinians Are Best Off under “Occupation”

Nov. 18 2019

Many who profess concern for the Palestinians agree that Israel ought to abandon its presence in the West Bank—which remains controlled by Jerusalem, even as most of its Arab residents live under the governance of the Palestinian Authority (PA). But, writes Evelyn Gordon, the Gaza Strip, from which Israel withdrew completely, provides a clear demonstration why West Bank Palestinians are beneficiaries of the status quo:

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More about: Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian economy, West Bank