Commentary Magazine


Contentions

UNhelpful in Annapolis

The Associated Press reports:

In an about face, the United States on Friday withdrew a UN resolution endorsing this week’s agreement by Israeli and Palestinian leaders to try to reach a Mideast peace settlement by the end of 2008, apparently after Israel objected.

A resolution on an agreement about a settlement. Nothing generates rhetoric like a peace conference. I have no hopes for the Annapolis summit. There’s no member of the Palestinian leadership possessing either the will or the bravery to formalize Palestinian recognition of Israel’s legitimacy, and, as Bernard Lewis put it a few days ago: “no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist.” But I didn’t expect to see anything disastrous come out of Annapolis, either. However, if the U.S. were to get the UN on board I’d have to reconsider. As Mark Steyn said: “There is no great issue facing the world today that can’t be made worse by having a UN conference on it.”

And there’s no issue the U.N.’s enjoys lousing up more than Israel. This is the organization that included the phrase “Zionism is racism” in their official literature until 2001, when George W. Bush pressured them to remove it. This is the network of arbiters who in 2007 declared Israel the world’s premier violator of women’s rights.

The U.S.’s given reasons for withdrawing the resolution hinted towards the matter at hand:

Two U.S. officials, who on condition of anonymity described Rice’s decision to withdraw the draft document, said there were several concerns about the resolution, including the failure to consult the Israelis and Palestinians on the language and the possibility that some on the Security Council might try to add anti-Israeli language to it.

Asking for the UN’s imprimatur on an empty rhetorical declaration could turn this Maryland linguistics conference into something much more sinister. Let’s hope the 24-hour error was an aberration and not a sign of further deference to this malign body.


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