By Khalid Amayreh in Ramallah
RAMALLAH, (PIC)-- There have been troubling signals of late concerning the head of the Palestinian mission to the United Nations, Mr. Riyadh Mansour, which raises questions and question marks about his competence, professionalism and even patriotism.
If true, these signals should be more than sufficient for a strong-worded rebuke, even outright dismissal.
A few days ago, Mansour reportedly circulated a draft UN resolution, vilifying the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, as a “terrorist organization.” The audacity of the feat, which was utterly rejected by Arab, Muslim and third world diplomats at the UN headquarters in New York, raised a lot of eyebrows here in Palestine.
Indeed, most Palestinians, including this writer, can’t understand how the representative of the Palestinian people to the UN has allowed himself to stoop to the depraved level of adopting Israel’s positions on Hamas.
We Palestinians don’t agree on everything done and said by Hamas. However, calling the movement terrorist, let alone urging the world community to condemn it as a terrorist group, goes beyond the pale of what is acceptable and what is expected from the man who is supposed to represent all Palestinians and defend our national interests.
Less than two years ago, Hamas was elected by a sizeable majority of the Palestinian people in free and fair elections. So does Mr. Riyad Mansour suggest that a majority of Palestinians are terrorist-minded people just because they wouldn’t subscribe to his un-Palestinian views regarding our inalienable rights, such as the right of return?
Mansour’s anti-Hamas draft resolution is the second blunder he committed at the UN in less than four months.
In July, he blocked a UN resolution, proposed by Indonesia and Qatar, calling for lifting the Nazi-like Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, described by many observers as a sort of slow-motion genocide.
Then, eyebrows were raised everywhere and people were prompted to seriously wonder if the man represented Israel or the Palestinian people.
More to the point, it is manifestly clear that a man who behaves as Mr. Mansour has been behaving is scandalously ignorant of the fundamentals of the nature of his mission.
First, he should have realized that the UN General Assembly is not the place to criticize a Palestinian political party, actually the majority party. Indeed, one doesn’t have to be a veteran diplomat to realize that displaying our dirty laundry at the UN can only weaken not strengthen the overall Palestinian position within the international community.
Has Mr. Mansour ever heard his friend, the Israeli ambassador to the UN criticize the Likud, or Gush Emunim or the manifestly-racist gung-ho Lieberman who would like to bomb Palestinians, Lebanese and Iranians to smithereens?
Can’t he learn a bit from him? Can’t he realize that the Israeli ambassador to the UN wouldn’t stay 24 hours on his job if he were to publicly criticize even the most right-wing Israeli political party?
Second, Mr. Mansour should have learned the ABCs of his job as representative of Palestine to the international organization, namely that his sole task is to defend the interests of the Palestinian people and expose Israeli criminality and apartheid.
Needless to say, his concentration on Hamas, apparently in an effort to impress our enemies and obtain a certificate of good conduct from certain diplomatic circles in the US, shows that he is more of a liability to his country and its enduring just cause.
For these reasons, it is imperative that the Palestinian Authority should make sure that such grave blunders by Mr. Mansour are not repeated. And if necessary, a replacement should be considered as soon as it became clear that he would not be able to give the required stature and dignity to his position as Palestine’s head of mission to the United Nations.