In her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Guns of August, Barbara Tuchman chronicled how a cascading series of seemingly minor developments led inexorably to World War I and the worst carnage known to man up to that time. In the future, historians may point to the present diplomacy of September as the catalysts for the next horrific conflict now in the offing in the Middle East, and potentially beyond.
I am thinking specifically of three agenda items slated to take place in the United Nations or on the margins of its meetings in coming days:
The first is a portentous move by the Palestinians with the strong backing of the 57-member bloc now known as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The idea is to secure international recognition of Palestinian statehood by, if possible, the UN Security Council and - failing that, in the event of a U.S. veto - by the General Assembly.
The true purpose of this gambit as the Wall Street Journal called it in an editorial on Monday could not be more invidious:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offered a hint of his real ambition when he wrote, in the New York Times in May, that ‘Palestine's admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only as a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Criminal Court.'
That means not the usual feckless resolutions at the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, but travel bans and international arrest warrants for Israeli soldiers involved in the ‘occupation' of a supposedly sovereign state. In other words, what Palestinians seek out of a U.N. vote isn't an affirmation of their right to a state, but rather another tool in their perpetual campaign to harass, delegitimize and ultimately destroy Israel.
Secondly, the UN will shortly be hosting the third in a series of gabfests aimed at furthering this campaign - the so-called "Durban III" Conference. It is absolutely predictable that, like its predecessors in Durban, South Africa in 2001 and in Geneva, Switzerland in 2009, this event will amount to an international anti-semitic and anti-Israel hate-fest. One clue: The stated purpose of Durban III is to memorialize Durban I, which was so toxic towards the Jewish State and its friends that then-Secretary of State Colin Powell directed the U.S. delegation to walk out.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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