Is Hamas joining the United Nations? Well, not directly — at least not yet — but through the back door, unless the members of the Economic and Social Council wake up.
On Monday, the 54 member states in ECOSOC (including the United States, Germany and United Kingdom) are scheduled to take the vote on the application of Palestinian Return Centre for accreditation as a non-governmental organization in the UN system.
If the PRC application is granted, the group’s leaders would receive open access to UN facilities in New York, Geneva and elsewhere, as well as the right to participate in committee meetings (including at the Human Rights Council).
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has had a close affiliation with the PRC, which is based in London and active throughout Europe, for many years, including appearing as the keynote speaker at the organization’s annual conference in Milan in 2009. On June 1, after the PRC passed the preliminary vote in the NGO committee of ECOSOC, Haniyeh’s office warmly congratulated the PRC leadership.
But the links between Hamas terror operations and the PRC go much deeper than that. In December 2010, then-Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak declared the PRC to be an “unlawful association” for its involvement “in initiating and organizing radical and violent activity against Israel in Europe, while de-legitimizing Israel’s status as a nation among the European community.”
The PRC is headed by a number of Hamas activists, including Zaher al-Birawi, Majed al-Zeer, Sheikh Majdi Akeel, Ghassan Faour and Arafat Madi Shukri.
Thus, an ECOSOC vote for PRC is essentially a vote to let Hamas take a seat in the United Nations.
It’s not too late to stop this latest UN theater of the absurd. If David Cameron’s government in London, along with Germany and other European members of ECOSOC, join the United States, Australia, South Korea and additional democracies in voting no on Monday, the preliminary outcome will be reversed and Hamas will be prevented from taking a disturbing step toward international legitimacy.