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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Read more at BESA Center

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

Will America Invite Israel to Join Its Multinational Coalitions?

From the Korean War onward, the U.S. has rarely fought wars alone, but has instead led coalitions of various allied states. Israel stands out in that it has close military and diplomatic relations with Washington yet its forces have never been part of these coalitions—even in the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraqi missiles were raining down on its cities. The primary reason for its exclusion was the sensitivity of participating Arab and Muslim nations. But now that Jerusalem has diplomatic relations with several Arab countries and indeed regularly participates alongside them in U.S.-led joint military exercises, David Levy believes it may someday soon be asked to contribute to an American expedition.

It is unlikely that Israel would be expected by the U.S. to deploy the Golani [infantry] brigade or any other major army unit. Instead, Washington will likely solicit areas of IDF niche expertise. These include missile defense and special forces, two areas in which Israel is a world leader. The IDF has capabilities that it can share by providing trainers and observers. Naval and air support would also be expected as these assets are inherently deployable. Israel can also provide allies in foreign wars with intelligence and cyber-warfare support, much of which can be accomplished without the physical deployment of troops.

Jerusalem’s previous reasons for abstention from coalitions were legitimate. Since its independence, Israel has faced existential threats. Conventional Arab armies sought to eliminate the nascent state in 1948-49, 1967, and again in 1973. This danger remained ever-present until the 1978 signing of the Camp David Accords, which established peace between Egypt and Israel. Post-Camp David, the threats to Israel remain serious but are no longer existential. If Iran were to become a nuclear power, this would pose a new existential threat. Until then, Israel is relatively well secured.

Jerusalem’s new Arab allies would welcome its aid. Western capitals, especially Washington, should be expected to pursue Israel’s military assistance, and Jerusalem will have little choice but to acquiesce to the expeditionary expectation.

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More about: IDF, U.S. military, U.S.-Israel relationship