The United Nations Launches Its Newest, and Most Expensive, Anti-Israel Initiative

In May, the UN Human Rights Council held a special session to discuss its favorite topic: the imagined crimes of the Jewish state. The session concluded by passing a typical resolution condemning Israel for war crimes, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and so forth, while making no mention whatsoever of Hamas or the missile war it had recently launched. But it also created an “ongoing independent, international commission of inquiry”—naturally to be led by anti-Israel activists—to look into the matter. Anne Bayefsky explains what makes this anti-Israel UN resolution different from so many others:

Extraordinarily, the budget for funding the “inquiry” only surfaced four months after the vote creating it was taken, so voters did not know its financial ramifications. Quietly posted after the fact on the UN website at the end of September 2021, the budget manifests a wild grab for an unprecedented amount of cash and human resources. All of it is to come from the UN’s regular budget. . . . It is currently set to cost at least $11,812,700 total in its first three years, and $5,475,600 each year thereafter.

Here is another shocking component. The Israel inquisition is the largest boondoggle in the history of the UN human-rights system: it will fund 790 days of travel for experts and staff every year from 2022 on—forever. Those are two UN employees provided food and accommodation and airfare to roam around demonizing the Jewish state every day of every year. That is also more travel days than any of the Council’s current human-rights investigations about anything, anywhere.

Especially insidious is an amount the UN has budgeted for lawfare. There will be four full-time lawyers, plus a “forensic expert” to “report on medico-legal issues,” and a “military advisor” to pronounce on “de-jure command responsibility” and liaise with law-enforcement officials. Lawfare in the UN-Palestinian context will consist of falsifying, misrepresenting, and abusing law to criminalize (a) the self-defense of Jews and the Jewish state, and (b) Jews living, cultivating, or even being on land whenever or wherever Arabs object.

In effect, the budget of this UN inquisition funds the creation of a law firm inside the UN dedicated to manufacturing charges and mounting a global chase to arrest and incarcerate Israeli Jews.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: BDS, Lawfare, 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