UN, OIC, EU and PLO invite Trump retaliation
UNRWA, for one, is facing the grim prospect of having to find up to US$400 million annually from other UN member States if Trump cuts America's current voluntary contribution to UNWRA.
by David Singer
December 31, 2017
Humiliating President Trump by declaring his decision recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as being "null and void and must be rescinded" - spells financial and political trouble for the United Nations (UN), the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the European Union (EU) and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).
The timing of Trump's decision can be criticised – but questioning Trump's sovereign right to make that decision constitutes a flagrant attempt to undermine the offices of the democratically-elected US President and Congress.
Biting the hand that feeds you does have consequences.
The catastrophic decisions made by the UN, OIC, EU and PLO over the past two weeks following Trump's Jerusalem Declaration could seriously impact any "ultimate deal" Trump has been putting together to end the Jewish-Arab conflict.
The two-state solution – which envisages a second (democratic) Arab state – in addition to (undemocratic) Jordan – on the land comprised in the 1922 Mandate for Palestine - remains in limbo since the suspension of negotiations between Israel and the PLO in April 2014.
Trump's decision was made in accordance with international law and American domestic law – making a mockery of those who have claimed otherwise.
The first two casualties of this unprecedented political and legal attack on America's governing institutions could be:
- the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees ("UNRWA") and
- the two-state solution proposed by the 1993 Oslo Accords and President Bush's 2003 Roadmap - as endorsed by the UN, the EU and Russia ("two-state solution")
US Ambassador to the UN – Nikki Haley – put UNWRA clearly in President Trump's sights for retaliatory action when she declared:
"The United States has done more than any other country to assist the Palestinian people. By far. Since 1994, we have given over $5 billion to the Palestinians in bilateral economic assistance, security assistance, and humanitarian assistance."
"The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees operates schools and medical facilities throughout the region. It is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions. Last year, the United States voluntarily funded almost 30 percent of UNRWA's budget. That's more than the next two largest donors combined. And it's vastly more than some of the members of this Council that have considerable financial resources of their own."
"I'll be blunt: When the American people see a group of countries whose total contributions to the Palestinian Arabs is less than one percent of UNRWA's budget – when they see these countries accuse the United States of being insufficiently committed to peace – the American people lose their patience."
UNRWA is facing the grim prospect of having to find up to US$400 million annually from other UN member States if Trump cuts America's current voluntary contribution to UNWRA.
President Trump has already announced America will withdraw from UNESCO in 2018 – attributed in part to "anti-Israel bias" - which will require another US$143 million - 22% of UNESCO's annual budget - to be found from other member states.
Trump can now justifiably jettison the two state solution – including Abbas and the PLO - from his ultimate deal – after Abbas defiantly declared on 22 December:
"The United States has proven to be a dishonest mediator in the peace process and we will no longer accept any plan from the United States," Abbas's outburst has effectively consigned the two-state solution to the dustbin of history.
Abbas has once again demonstrated the unerring ability of the Palestinian Arabs to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory – as happened in 1922, 1937, 1947, between 1948 and 1967, 2000, 2001 and 2008.
Trump's ultimate deal must now be seriously struggling to see the light of day.
David Singer is an Australian lawyer who is active in Zionist community organizations in that country. He founded the "Jordan is Palestine" Committee in 1979.