Like Its Failed Predecessor, the UN Human Rights Council Is Interested Only in Slandering Israel

In 2006, the United Nations created its Human Rights Council to replace the disbanded Human Rights Commission, which was little more than a forum for the world’s cruelest despots to condemn the Jewish state. Currently in session in Geneva, the council has demonstrated that it has preserved all the faults of its precursor. Arsen Ostrovsky writes:

[I]nstead of focusing on China’s ethnic cleansing of Uighur Muslims, Iran’s merciless execution of the wrestler Navid Afkar, or Russia’s poisoning of the pro-democracy opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the council will once again focus its attention on the democratic state of Israel with a series of predictable condemnations. . . . The council reserves a spot on its agenda to condemn the Jewish state—the sole country-specific item—whereas human-rights issues in the entire rest of the world are shoved into one solitary agenda item.

In the meantime, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, in her September 14th remarks to the council at the opening of this current session, did not hesitate to condemn Israel for exercising self-defense against Hamas in Gaza.

At the same time, the council’s current membership, which includes Pakistan, Qatar, Libya, slave-trading Mauritania, and Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela, doesn’t inspire confidence in the council’s ability to defend the oppressed and serve as an objective guardian of human rights. . . . [In] this theatre of the, absurd, terrorists, tyrants, dictators, and [their] henchmen sit in judgment of Western democracies, their places on the Human Rights Council guaranteed by sham elections and back-door deals, their impunity sealed by membership in the UN’s top human-rights body.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Human Rights, UNHRC, United Nations

Recognizing a Palestinian State Won’t Help Palestinians, or Even Make Palestinian Statehood More Likely

While Shira Efron and Michael Koplow are more sanguine about the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and more critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, than I am, I found much worth considering in their recent article on the condition of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Particularly perceptive are their comments on the drive to grant diplomatic recognition to a fictive Palestinian state, a step taken by nine countries in the past few months, and almost as many in total as recognize Israel.

Efron and Koplow argue that this move isn’t a mere empty gesture, but one that would actually make things worse, while providing “no tangible benefits for Palestinians.”

In areas under its direct control—Areas A and B of the West Bank, comprising 40 percent of the territory—the PA struggles severely to provide services, livelihoods, and dignity to inhabitants. This is only partly due to its budgetary woes; it has also never established a properly functioning West Bank economy. President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn ninety next year, administers the PA almost exclusively by executive decrees, with little transparency or oversight. Security is a particular problem, as militants from different factions now openly defy the underfunded and undermotivated PA security forces in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm.

Turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) from a transitional authority into a permanent state with the stroke of a pen will not make [its] litany of problems go away. The risk that the state of Palestine would become a failed state is very real given the PA’s dysfunctional, insolvent status and its dearth of public legitimacy. Further declines in its ability to provide social services and maintain law and order could yield a situation in which warlords and gangs become de-facto rulers in some areas of the West Bank.

Otherwise, any steps toward realizing two states will be fanciful, built atop a crumbling foundation—and likely to help turn the West Bank into a third front in the current war.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood