Monday, May 23, 2016

The French political gymnastics of offering the Palestinians no-cost recognition

...The Palestinians, on the other hand, are thrilled to have an international conference where others will make demands of Israel as the Palestinian experiment in self-government degenerates into poverty and chaos by its own economic, political and social choices, looking more like Venezuela every day.

Shoshana Bryen..
Gatestone Institute..
23 May '16..

The French government seems to be falling over itself to undo its craven vote in favor of a UNESCO resolution accusing Israel -- referred to as the "Occupying Power" in Jerusalem -- of destroying historic structures on the Temple Mount:

- Prime Minister Manuel Valls apologized. "This UNESCO resolution contains unfortunate, clumsy wording that offends and unquestionably should have been avoided, as should the vote."- Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve apologized. [I do] "not take a supportive view of the text." The resolution "should not have been adopted" and "was not written as it should have been."- President Fran├žois Hollande apologized. [The vote was] "unfortunate," and, "I would like to guarantee that the French position on the question of Jerusalem has not changed... I also wish to reiterate France's commitment to the status quo in the holy places in Jerusalem... As per my request, the foreign minister will personally and closely follow the details of the next decision on this subject. France will not sign a text that will distance her from the same principles I mentioned."- Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault did not quite apologize: "France has no vested interest but is deeply convinced that if we do not want to let the ideas of the Islamic State group prosper in this region, we must do something."

It sounds as if they thought they had made a mistake. But the vote was not a mistake. Underestimating the depth of Israel's anger about it might have been a mistake, but not the vote. The French -- who, according to their foreign minister, have "no vested interest" but need to "do something" about Islamic State -- could not have thought that a UNESCO resolution that offended Israel would do anything to slow ISIS "in the region" or in Europe. There is no way it could; the two are not connected.

The French however, apparently thought a vote accusing Israel of something, anything, would keep the Palestinian Authority from presenting a resolution on Palestinian independence to the UN Security Council; Ayrault implied in Israel that the UNESCO vote was a quid pro quo. Why? The French have a veto they could exercise in the UN Security Council. But the Palestinians might then object to France replacing the U.S. as the "Great Power" in the "peace process." They already have experience with a veto-wielding interlocutor -- the U.S. -- and they do not want another. The price of an elevated status for the French appears to entail not vetoing Palestinian resolutions, voting for them in UNESCO, and sacrificing Israel in a process that will end in French recognition of a Palestinian State, whether Israel agrees to be bound to the altar or not.

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