Abbas demands UN armed force to protect Palestinians from Israel

The forceful request comes as “Palestine” takes over the presidency of the Group of 77, the largest bloc of nations in the U.N.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), became 2019’s rotating chairman of the United Nations’ Group of 77 and China on Tuesday.

The Group of 77 was named for the 77 original signatories to a loose alliance of developing countries created in 1964. The main purpose was to defend their economic interests by insisting on equal standing with more advanced countries in the area of international trade as well as to present a united front on other issues of common concern.

Despite its many efforts for full membership, the PA is merely an observer, non-member state of the U.N. To overcome the barrier, the General Assembly called a special vote in October to enable the PA to preside over the Group of 77, which has grown to include over 130 countries.

Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh called the event “an important achievement to assert the Palestinian identity in the international community, which colonial powers have tried to abolish over many centuries,” according to a report in the PA’s Ma’an news agency.

Abbas already took advantage of the upgrade in international status on Monday to meet with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. At the meeting, he urged the implementation of recommendations in a report, authored by the U.N. chief last August, calling for an armed U.N. force to protect Palestinians in Israel.

The report recommended a “more robust UN presence on the ground,” including human rights monitors deployed at potential flashpoints such as roadblocks and checkpoints near Israeli villages in Judea and Samaria, as well as an armed force to protect Palestinian civilians physically. Israel would never agree to such a force, and since the establishment of such a force would require approval by the Security Council, Israel would rely on the United States to use its veto power.

When the vote took place in July, Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Danny Danon, said that making “Palestine” head of the Group of 77 would in no way advance the PA agenda.

“The goal of the Group of 77 originally was to facilitate the economic advancement of underdeveloped nations,” he said in a statement to The New York Times. “It is unfortunate that it will now become a platform for spreading lies and incitement. This will not promote the G-77’s goals, and it encourages the Palestinians to not engage in negotiations for peace.”