WATCH: Prosor states the obvious to the UN after it cynically approved the Palestinian request to fly its flag: No vote can turn “empty symbolic gestures into a state.”
By HERB KEINON
The UN – with some EU countries in tow – would pass a resolution stating that the world is flat were such a resolution brought by the Palestinians, Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor said Thursday night.
Prosor’s remarks came after the world body approved a resolution calling for the Palestinian flag to be hoisted along with the banners of the other nations that make up the world body.
The “State of Palestine” as well as the Vatican have the status of “non-member observer states” at the UN General Assembly, and up until now, only states with full member status had their flags flown there. Prosor, in his last speech to the UN General Assembly before returning to Israel after a four year stint as ambassador, took aim at the world body, saying that rather than flying the Palestinian flag, it might as well just wave a “white flag” and surrender its principles.
He argued that not only was the measure procedurally flawed, in that it was brought to a vote without the requisite debate and discussion, but it also allowed the Palestinians to manipulate the institution for its own public relations stunts.
“In my four years, I have seen hypocrisy, I have seen duplicity, and I have seen a triple standard — one for democracies, one for dictatorships, and a special standard designed only for Israel,” Prosor said. “I thought I had seen everything,” he continued. “But I have to admit, this time, the Palestinian managed to take cynicism to a whole new level. The goal of this resolution is a photo op. The Palestinians want to bring together world dignitaries and the media to gather around and watch as [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] Abu Mazen raises a flag. They plan to use the prestige of the UN as a backdrop for this charade.”
No vote, Prosor said, can turn “empty symbolic gestures into a state.”
Instead of playing along, he said, “the international community must make it clear to the Palestinians that the only way to achieve statehood is through direct negotiations. As long as the Palestinians believe they can achieve their political goals without making concessions, they will continue to avoid taking the difficult decisions needed for peace.”
Prosor took a swipe at the EU, as some of its 28 members voted for the Palestinians, while some others abstained.
Regarding an imaginary resolution brought by the Palestinians declaring the world flat, the EU would “probably try to reach a consensus to abstain on the vote,” Prosor said. “But some EU countries would consider it a matter of principle to declare that the world is, indeed, flat — if this is how the Palestinians see it.”
The EU’s vaunted consensus on foreign policy matters, he said only holds firm when “their consensus is against Israel.” But, he said, the principle of “maintaining a holy consensus cannot withstand Palestinian pressure.”
The Palestinians initially presented their flag-raising initiative as a joint proposal with the Vatican, but the Holy See’s mission quickly made clear it would not co-sponsor the resolution and asked that all references to the Vatican be removed.
The Vatican’s chief delegate to the United Nations said on Wednesday it was unclear whether the Holy See would choose to fly its flag alongside the Palestinian one. The Palestinian news agency WAFA, meanwhile, quoted PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat as saying that by adopting the measure the “world will be sending a strong message of support to the realization of the two-state vision and in honoring the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. “While we know that this step by its own will not end the Israeli occupation, it will contribute to the efforts aimed at both the attainment of peace and the realization of the rights of the Palestinian people,” he said.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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