Wishful thinking: a BBC view of ‘global sentiment’

The BBC News website’s Middle East page had a ditsy little headline on its homepage of December 3rd: 

Turning Tide

UN vote offers snapshot of global sentiment on peace process

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The link leads to an article by the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Kevin Connolly entitled “UN vote gives Palestinians new diplomatic powers”. But before getting to that, readers may ponder exactly which “tide” the BBC thinks is turning and what sort of universal “sentiment” on the peace process it believes can be concluded from the UN GA vote of November 29th

Of the 138 countries which voted in favour of the resolution, no fewer than 53 are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The vast majority of states comprising that body do not have diplomatic relations with Israel and do not seek peace with Israel. In some cases they actively seek Israel’s destruction. Some of them finance and/or supply the terror organisations which up to only a week before the UN vote were committing hundreds of war crimes a day by deliberately targeting Israeli civilians with military-grade missiles. 

One of the OIC’s aims, according to its founding charter is:

“To support and empower the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and establish their sovereign State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, while safeguarding its historic and Islamic character as well as the Holy places therein”

Another of the OIC’s aims is expressed thus:

“The Headquarters of the General Secretariat shall be in the city of Jeddah until the liberation of the city of Al-Quds so that it will become the permanent Headquarters of the Organisation.”

The OIC is of course the same organization which claims to have been the initiator of the Goldstone Report, which is famous for its serial sponsorship of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN, which rejects internationally-accepted standards of universal human rights and demands Shari’ah-based “human rights” instead and which has been pressuring the UN to adopt “global blasphemy laws“. 

“Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said the international community should ‘come out of hiding from behind the excuse of freedom of expression’, a reference to Western arguments against a universal blasphemy law that the OIC has sought for over a decade.”

Fifty one of the additional voters at the UN GA in favour of the Palestinian bid are members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which – despite its title – operates as another voting bloc within the UN system. Some members of the OIC are also part of the NAM, which is currently led by Iran and will be for the next three years. In August this year members of the NAM met in Tehran and the UN Secretary General caused controversy by attending that meeting. 

Unsurprisingly, the recent NAM summit produced no fewer than two documents relating to the Palestinian issue. One was a “Declaration on Palestine Political Prisoners” – which of course completely ignores the existence of terrorism – and the other was a “Solidarity Declaration on Palestine“, which is replete with all the usual one-sided rhetoric one would expect to see from such a source, including the following clause: 

“The Heads of State or Government  welcomed in this regard the application submitted, on 23 September 2011, by Palestine to be admitted as a Member State of the United Nations, consistent with the right of the Palestinian people to self- determination and independence, convinced that realization of this objective will be a major step towards securing freedom, dignity, stability and peace for the Palestinian people.  They also welcomed the admission of Palestine as a Member State of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.”

It is therefore completely unsurprising to see both members of the OIC and the NAM – many of them of course not exactly paragons of democracy and human rights – voting in favour of the resolution en masse. In fact, the outcome of the vote was never in doubt because for years now the UN has only ever produced the inevitable when it comes to Israel. 

Why that should inspire the BBC to categorise the vote as a “turning tide” is a mystery: if anything, the tide stood still and continued its brackish ways. Neither do the results of the OIC and NAM dominated vote have anything to do with “sentiment” or with anything which can be reasonably described as a ‘peace process’. 

Kevin Connolly’s interpretation of the results of the UN GA vote includes the following:

“The recent conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza would have boosted the standing of the Palestinian militant organisation in the eyes of the Arab world.

It is the more moderate PA based in the West Bank which has invested in the diplomatic strategy through the UN.

So some of the countries which abstained on the vote or voted for the Palestinians may have intended to boost the more moderate secularists of the PA against the Islamists of Hamas rather than the Palestinians in general against the Israelis.”

But by accepting Abbas’ motion, the UN has not only killed off the Oslo Accords once and for all (with apparently no regard for the fact that at over 1,500 Israelis were murdered because of the rejection of those accords by factions within Palestinian society), but has ironically also sounded the death knell for the main product of Oslo; the Palestinian Authority itself.

“Global sentiment on the peace process” has (with very few exceptions) two main strains: those who have no wish to see such a process ever come to fruition and those who have no understanding of the factors currently preventing that process from progressing. Like the 34 additional nations which voted in favour at the UN GA last week, the BBC shows that it falls into the latter category.  

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