(TPS) The Palestinian Authority is laying the groundwork for another major diplomatic assault on Israel on the backdrop of the United Nations General Assembly’s annual general debate next month.
Speaking to the Palestinian Authority’s Voice of Palestine radio station on Sunday, Omar Awadallah, the head of the U.N. department in the P.A. Foreign Ministry, said that U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres is expected to travel to Ramallah after the General Assembly meetings, while International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan is scheduled to visit in October.
Neither Guterres’s nor Khan’s office could confirm the plans to the Tazpit Press Service, with the ICC stating that “this information is not accurate.” However, both officials have recently indicated their wish to visit P.A.-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria.
At the same time, the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), which consists of 25 U.N. member states in addition to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and other observers, said last week that it had persuaded Guterres to visit the region.
In remarks that went largely unreported, Riyad Mansour, the PLO envoy to the U.N., said on Aug. 22 following a meeting with Guterres, “We are happy and delighted that we are in the stage of preparing for this visit with the secretary-general to take place as soon as possible.”
Capitalizing on Tensions
Experts in Israel believe Ramallah is trying to capitalize on recent tensions between Jerusalem and the international community at a time when the Jewish state is facing a wave of PA Arab terror.
“Every year in September, when the General Assembly convenes, Abu Mazen [P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas] goes to New York—this is a regular platform for him to attack Israel, so this is nothing new,” said Israeli journalist and Arab affairs analyst Yoni Ben-Menachem.
“However, this year, Abu Mazen and the Palestinians see a golden opportunity because of Israel’s right-wing government and the way it’s being perceived worldwide that the Americans and other countries have denounced,” he added.
According to Ben-Menachem, PA Arab terrorists are likely plotting additional attacks during the Jewish High Holidays, and during the holiday of Sukkot, when large groups of Jewish pilgrims flock to the flashpoint Temple Mount holy site. The High Holidays begin on Sept. 15 at sundown. The week-long holiday of Sukkot begins at sundown on Sept. 29.
“If there’s an escalation on Temple Mount, this is going to be used by Abu Mazen in his General Assembly speech,” Ben-Menachem predicted.
The Palestinian Authority has enjoyed non-member observer state status at the U.N. since 2012, garnered through a vote at the General Assembly, where no country holds veto power. Longstanding U.S. policy maintains that full PA membership in U.N. agencies is counterproductive and an end-around to a political settlement through negotiations with Israel.
Washington has also voiced strong objections to the PA joining the International Criminal Court, most recently in 2021 when U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed “serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise its jurisdiction over Israeli personnel.”
Heads of state traditionally gather in New York City for the annual opening session of the UN General Assembly. This year’s session begins on Sept. 18.