29 November 2011

Palestinians and the UN Saga

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the significance of Palestinian membership to UNESCO.

A largely overlooked consequence of this membership was their almost automatic acceptance to other agencies like WIPO and IAEA. Since there are, not one but two US laws that automatically cuts funding to any UN agencies that allows Palestine membership, the US could find itself unable to participate in the decision making process of the World Intellectual Property Organization or the International Atomic Energy Agency. UN rules do not require the expulsion of members who fail to pay their dues. But they strip them of their vote and presence at the table.

At a time when people worry about a nuclear Iran posing a mortal threat to Israel, it would have been ironic for the US to quit the decision-making process of the Agency that deals with nuclear monitoring just to support Israel.

Not surprisingly, the corporate media did not pay much attention to that potentially embarrassing and costly repercussion. It was mostly online sites that discussed the issue. MJ Rosenberg lamented the shortsightedness of the US foreign policy and its blind subservience to Likud's vision. There was another reference in Americablog, which erroneously stated that the US left UNESCO and asked whether WIPO and ITU would be next. ITU is the international telecommunication body and chief among its concerns is the Internet. Clearly, being removed from that would also be a major headache for the US.

But to me, the real question is this: How come the Palestinians did not make a lot of noise about their intention to apply to these organizations?

For instance, UNIDO's biennial General Conference started yesterday and the outgoing chair is Iran. Why not give your dossier right now?

More importantly, why not publicize your next move?

That would almost certainly attract a lot of attention and start a whole new debate. Especially in the context of IAEA and the Iranian monitoring issue. In that case, it is not just the US interests that are in jeopardy but Israel stands to lose a lot as well.

Since the two US laws in question were written with specific language that precludes to introduction of a national security waiver, the Obama administration is in no position to prevent the US from leaving its chair empty in these critically important agencies.

In the past, the US were able to browbeat most member nations, as they did with WHO, who refused a Palestinian bid in 1989 because George Bush the father told them he would cut funding to the organization. John Bolton, who, like every neocon, is not very bright, recommended that the US threatens every organization and withdraws from all of them, if need be.

Except, this time around it would be a disaster for the US and Israel.

So, how come the Palestinians are not even mentioning the possibility?

Is it possible that my contrarian hypothesis is correct and a change is in the offing?

No comments:

Post a Comment