The e-mail invitation from the United Nations Division on Palestinian Rights (DPR) began with a genial “Dear Friends” salutation, and the writer noting “the pleasure” of inviting our organization “to participate in the United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Jerusalem,” taking place now in Ankara, Turkey.
The gathering is being sponsored by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the government of Turkey. The invitation noted that the theme of the two-day conference is “Strengthening international support for a just and lasting solution of the question of Jerusalem.” As an accredited non-governmental organization, we were on the invitation list.
We won’t be attending.
Innocuous as this gathering may sound, will there really be an open conversation? Both the Division and the Committee were established by the UN in the wake of the infamous Zionism= Racism resolution, which itself followed on Yasser Arafat’s appearance before the UN General Assembly in 1974. Together with another body, the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices, these committees serve as an in-house public relations operation for the Palestinian side in the conflict with Israel. Year-in and year-out, the General Assembly – now, by rote – routinely approves the funding for this operation, now amounting to over $6 million.
If they are really serious about investing in peace and not perpetuating conflict and hatred, they’d direct the $6m. to economic empowerment projects, like micro-financing for women-owned businesses.
On its website, the CEIRPP states that together with the DPR, the “secretariat” for Palestinian matters, the General Assembly “has gradually expanded the Committee’s mandate.” Indeed, the DPR is the only bureau in the UN’s Secretariat to be dedicated solely to one group, sitting aside, as it does, bodies devoted to geographically- based divisions for Africa, the Americas, Asia and Pacific, Europe, Middle East and West Asia.
The CEIRPP spends its time and funding on conferences like the one coming soon in Turkey, and photo exhibitions that regularly depict Israel as a heartless occupier and worse. No surprise there, because the committee exists only to exacerbate and prolong the conflict, not support or contribute to its amelioration.
You would not have found it on the sidelines cheering on the just-ended Kerry initiative, or out there calling now for a quick resumption of negotiations. It feeds on, and festers over the historic Palestinian narrative, with no time-out for reality checks along the way.
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