Just when you thought authority brings with it a sense of proportionality and responsibility, we have the Arab Palestinians to remind us “ain’t necessarily so.”
When the “Palestine” delegation to the United Nations had its status upgraded to nonmember observer state last week, there were some who believed the name change would imbue Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas and his colleagues with a boost in both prestige and in seriousness.
But according to Haaretz, when UN members walked into the UN General Assembly Hall on the day after the vote, they saw that the sign identifying the delegation had been changed. Before the upgrade the sign had read “Palestine” – never mind that there was no such place as “Palestine.” But last Friday there was a new sign on the table in front of where the Arab Palestinian delegation sits. It read: “State of Palestine.”
If it wasn’t so pathetic it would be laughable. Actually, most people think it is both. Who else but people with little tiny egos and an even smaller list of nation building successes could need to – literally – put out a sign in an effort to show they fit in the actual world of serious statehood?
Anyway, the buttons-popping pride in their statehood – even if it is confined to a sign on the table – had to go because the Arab Palestinians did not follow the proper protocol in several different ways, including that any name change has to occur through a vote by the UN General Assembly. In addition, the sign was not made on the official machine that is used to create all signage at the UN.
This time the unilateral and illegal manueverings by the Arab Palestinians were treated appropriately and the “State of Palestine” sign was removed.
But wait, there’s more. Really.
Before the big vote to upgrade their status, the Arab Palestinians asked that Abbas be seated in a special chair on the stage at the UNGA meeting. When told by UN officials that such special chairs are only used at the opening September meetings, “Palestine’s” envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour looked into the matter. Mansour found that the Pope had been seated in a special chair on a regular UN voting day. “No fair!” he whined.
The reported response:
“With all due respect, Abbas is not the Pope, or the Queen of England,” UN officials told the Palestinian envoy, adding that such personalities receive the right due to their age and stature.
If only the 138 nations that voted to upgrade the Arab Palestinians’ status at the UN last week had been as scrupulous about the requirements for statehood as the UN officials were about protocol and appearances.Lori Lowenthal Marcus