Mahmoud Abbas at the UN 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz )
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to apply for membership in 15 United Nations conventions was “part of a broader strategy to isolate, delegitimize, undermine Israel in every possible arena without using violence,” former MK Einat Wilf said on Wednesday.
Wilf, a senior fellow with the Jewish People Policy Institute and a former Knesset member for the Independence and Labor parties, held a conference call with journalists in which she discussed the strategy behind Abbas’s petition to join several international treaties, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The decision is “a retaliatory step against the perception of the breakdown of the negotiations,” Wilf said.
She dismissed the idea that Abbas’s move was due to internal political considerations, saying it was primarily a message to Israel.
“This is basically a first shot that says to Israel, ‘We’re renewing the war, we’re renewing the battlefield of the United Nations,’” Wilf said. “This new mode of warfare. Even though it is nonviolent, it should be seen in the broader context of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, the legal warfare movement, this is a part of a broader strategy to isolate, delegitimize, undermine Israel in every possible arena without using violence.”
While many of the conventions deal with worthy causes, such as eliminating discrimination against women and ensuring the rights of disabled persons, seeing the move as without an ulterior motivation would be a mistake, she said.
“For example, they can use any one of these conventions not for domestic reasons but to highlight Israeli issues. They might bring up questions on disabled people or children or women and they might bring up issues against Israel and how it treats Palestinian women or children or disabled people. I don’t think this is about Palestinian domestic state-building,” Wilf said.
“Violence has failed them. It has failed to achieve their goals and, in many ways, it has backfired. That undermined their credibility, it has undermined sympathy for their goal,” she said.