by Joseph Klein
Morocco, replacing Lebanon on the United Nations Security Council, wasted no time in raising the issue of Israeli settlements after a closed-door Security Council meeting on January 10th about the unrelated topic of Children and Armed Conflict. As the United States representative is reported to have pointed out, Morocco’s request was “ill-timed and counter-productive.” Morocco’s decision to begin its tenure on the Security Council by carrying the Palestinians’ torch on the Israeli settlements issue is also the height of hypocrisy, considering Morocco’s continuing illegal occupation of the Western Sahara territory and repression of its people who yearn for self-determination.
Expect to see a continuing effort to insert the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, particularly the settlements issue, on the Security Council agenda whenever the Palestinians’ allies, such as Morocco, possibly can. It’s all part of the Palestinians’ campaign to persuade more Security Council members to support the Palestinians’ bid for full UN membership and to isolate the United States diplomatically if it does not drop its veto threat. So far, the United States has not had to exercise its veto power because the Palestinians were unable last year to garner a majority of other members to support their application for membership.
Palestine’s Observer to the UN, Riyad Mansour, told UN correspondents last week that the Palestinians would employ “new creative ideas” to gain full membership in the United Nations:
Are we giving up because there is one powerful country that has a veto power saying the Security Council should not be involved? We’re not giving up. So now we’re coming up with these new creative ideas.
Mansour referred to a letter he had handed to Bass Sangqu, the UN Ambassador from South Africa, which holds the Security Council presidency for the month of January. The letter purports to document “crimes committed by the occupying authority against our people in the occupied territory, including the terrorist activities by the settlers against our civilian population.” And Mansour called for a report on Israeli settlements to the Security Council by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Mansour also announced that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will be visiting Palestinian leaders in the West Bank within the month, presumably to report back to the Security Council their testimonials of Israeli “crimes.”
How about Ban Ki-moon adding to his itinerary a stop in the Western Sahara, illegally occupied by Morocco? The people of Western Sahara, which was once a Spanish colony, were entitled under international law to decide for themselves whether they wanted complete independence or association with another state after the colonizing power gave up control. Morocco never gave the people of Western Sahara this chance. Instead, it invaded and occupied their territory…