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UN So-Called Peace Coordinator, Bulgarian
Nikolay Mladenov, Unwelcome in Palestine
for his Bias Towards Israel
By Nicola Nasser
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, February 20,
The Palestine Liberation
Organisation (PLO) did not object to the appointment of new UN special
coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nikolay
Mladenov, although he was described by Tayseer Khaled, a member of
the PLO’s Executive Committee, as “persona non grata” — not trusted by the
Palestinians and nor qualified for the job.
The 15-member UN
Security Council unanimously voted to appoint Bulgarian Mladenov, 42, to
succeed Holland’s Robert Serry. He would also be the representative of the
UN secretary general to the International Quartet (the UN, US, EU and
Russia), and personal representative of the UN chief to the PLO (the State
of Palestine) and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
allows the PLO the right to reject diplomatic representatives to the
organisation, observers cannot understand why it accepted Mladenov. There is
no convincing answer except a futile desire by the PLO to appease the UN and
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, at a time when PLO diplomatic efforts are
focused on the UN and its agencies.
Mladenov not only failed in a similar mission as UN envoy to Iraq and
resigned, he is someone who describes himself
— and is described by the leaders of the Israeli occupation —
as “a good friend of Israel”. As Bulgarian
foreign minister, Mladenov suggested a “military alliance” between Bulgaria
and Israel. He has often spoken about his bias towards “Israel’s right to
exist” and its right “to defend itself” against Palestinians resisting
Israeli occupation. He even admitted to being a Free Mason, served Jewish
billionaire George Soros, and publicly advocated the US’s “constructive
chaos” policies in the Arab world. In fact, his Jewish origins may be the
least controversial aspect of him.
Meanwhile, the occupation state
does not hesitate in ignoring the UN, its resolutions and representatives,
disregarding and even assassinating them when necessary. Most recently,
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to “expel” Mladenov’s
predecessor Serry as “persona non grata”. Shortly before that, William
Schabas, the head of the UN commission investigating the occupation’s recent
war on the Gaza Strip, resigned after Israel refused to cooperate with him
or allow him to enter the country.
After the UN tolerated the
assassination of its first envoy to Palestine, Swedish Count Folke
Bernadotte in 1948, at the hands of the Zionist Stern Gang led by Yitzhak
Shamir (who later became prime minister of the occupation state), Israel
was emboldened to adopt a permanent policy of disregarding the UN without
deterrence so far.
In fact, over the past two years the occupation
state has carried out a proxy war against the UN. It has facilitated
logistics, intelligence, firepower and medical assistance to allow the
domination of militias fighting the Syrian regime on its side of the
disengagement zone between the liberated and occupied Arab Syrian Golan.
This compelled the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) to withdraw after
its positions were attacked, dozens of its troops kidnapped and
their weapons and equipment seized. Until today, the UN has not dared to
rectify the situation, which resulted in the collapse of the UN-sponsored
ceasefire and rules of engagement between Syria and Israel.
Middle East is teeming with international peace envoys. The UN has one, so
does the US, the EU, Russia, China and the Quartet. Their names change
without anything on the ground in occupied Palestine changing. Except for
expanding the occupation through settlements under the “peace” umbrella
these envoys provide, without any hope that the international community they
represent will be able to effect any real tangible change for the present
and future of the Palestinian people on the ground.
So what can
Mladenov do that his predecessors, the UN, the Quartet, the Arab League and
Khaled believes the real test, to remove
Palestinian doubts about Mladenov’s role and mission, will be his position
on the siege on Gaza and reconstruction there. However, Mladenov’s track
record does not indicate there is cause for optimism. Nor does the track
record of “UN special coordinators” since the creation of the position in
1994 and the subsequent expansion of its role, as well as the extensive
history of choosing UN and US envoys of Jewish origins or related in the
first degree to Jews, such as Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, John
Kerry, Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk and Quartet representative Tony Blair.
On 6 February, the secretaries general of the UN and Arab League issued a
joint statement expressing “deep concern” about conditions in Gaza.
They urged Arab and international donors to honour their financial pledges
made at the Cairo Conference last October “as soon as possible”, in order to
rebuild the Gaza Strip and end the siege there. A few days ago, James
Rowley, UN coordinator for humanitarian affairs in the Palestinian
territories occupied since 1967, sent out an “urgent call” for these
commitments to be fulfilled and an “immediate” lift of the siege on Gaza,
because he is “very concerned another conflict will break out” if not.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry described the statement by the Quartet on
8 February after it met in Munich, Germany, as “short of expectations”
because it ignored “all the old-new and evolving truths” of the
The Quartet also said it is “deeply concerned”
about the “difficult conditions in Gaza where reconstruction needs to be
quicker” and urged donors to “pay their financial pledges as soon as
possible”. However, it linked this to encouraging both sides to “restart
negotiations as soon as possible”.
Restarting talks “as soon as
possible”, nonetheless, must await the outcome of general elections in
Israel and the US. This means the Palestinian people must wait for another
two years in the vain hope of reconstructing Gaza. It is obvious the
occupation state is enjoying the luxury of time, making easy the occupation
without resistance, as well as building settlements without deterrence.
Before handing over the reins to Mladenov, Serry described the failure of
donors to pay their dues as “scandalous” and warned “if there is no progress
in the coming months” — not two years — towards a two-state solution, “the
reality will be a one state [solution]”: the single state of Israel. Former
UN coordinator Terry Rod Larsen said in 2002, “the Palestinian patient is
dying in the interim.”
Last December, Serry warned in his report to
the Security Council that a war in Gaza “could re-ignite if conditions on
the ground do not change” in the besieged Gaza Strip. It is clear that what
Serry described as a “deadly diplomatic vacuum” coupled with the ongoing
siege on rebuilding Gaza, are an explosive recipe in the besieged Gaza
Strip, the outcome and ramifications of which are unpredictable.
“scandal” of donors not paying their dues to rebuild Gaza, as Serry
described it, under the pretext that the PLO government does not control the
Gaza Strip, is a green light given by the international community to the
occupation state to carry out another military assault on national
resistance forces in Gaza.
The scandal of Arabs not paying their
pledges at Arab summits to provide the PA with a financial “safety net”
amounts to flagrant Arab pressure on the PLO to accept the Quartet’s
proposal to restart talks with the occupation state “as soon as possible”.
This is Mladenov’s dual mission as the new UN special coordinator
for the Middle East peace process. PLO negotiators continue to wait for
a breakthrough by “peace” envoys that are imposed on them and appointed
by the US and the UN, although they represent the occupation state. Mladenov
is the most recent. He will not change anything on the ground.
Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of
the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This article was translated from Arabic and first published by Al-Ahram
Weekly on 20 February 2015.
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