Israel-based journalist Sharona Schwartz covers Middle East news for The Blaze:
With the onslaught of anti-Israel activity this week at the UN, the Israeli government has geared up in full force to push back with a PR offensive of its own. In this case, one or two diplomats won’t suffice. A battalion of seasoned speakers is needed for the job. That is, to counter the two major offensives at the UN, backed by its Arab members: On September 22nd, the Durban III Conference will take place – what supporters of Israel are calling a racist anti-racism event set to charge only one country as racist, and that’s Israel. The next day, the Palestinian Authority is expected to present its one-sided bid for statehood recognition.
The crew heading to New York includes:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who will speak at the UN podium. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon who will also be there to present Israel’s case and lobby international leaders against the Palestinian move.
Tally: one prime minister, 5 ministers, one deputy minister and more, as noted in this handy timeline of the week’s events from the Jerusalem Post:
Gidi Schmerling, who was just replaced as Netanyahu’s chief spokesman by Yoaz Hendel, and Yonatan Peled, who this summer completed a tour of duty as spokesman at Israel’s embassy in Washington, are setting up a media center in New York. They will be augmented by Israel’s envoy in Washington, Michael Oren, and by former ambassador to the UN Dore Gold.
Seasoned UN-watchers might be skeptical that the UN will veer from its habitual turning a deaf ear to Israel. In more than 50 years, 82% of all UN General Assembly emergency session meetings have been about condemning Israel. By comparison, no sessions were called about the Cambodia, Rwanda or Sudan genocides, according to “Eye on the UN”.
Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor fired the opening salvo of the week’s public diplomacy efforts, pointing to the folly of the statehood bid in the Los Angeles Times:
The truth is that the head of the Palestinian Authority has absolutely no authority in the Gaza Strip. Abbas has not set foot in Gaza since the Hamas terrorist organization carried out a bloody coup and took control of the area in 2007. It's like New York City electing a mayor who is unable to travel to Brooklyn.
Ironically, the one group Israel doesn’t have to convince is the terrorist group Hamas which controls Gaza and opposes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ UN statehood efforts, saying he doesn’t have the right to cede one inch of Palestinian territory. Another way of saying they oppose declaring a state covering only the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. For them, Palestine was and always will be all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, or in other words, the entire State of Israel.