The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference convened onSeptember 19, 2011 in Vienna for its annual meeting. Common to these conferences is theinjection of politics into the discussions, i.e., proposals by the Arab nations, headed byEgypt, concerning Israel’s nuclear capabilities. Egypt views the annual conference as a
proper forum for advancing its efforts to dismantle these alleged capabilities.
In this sense, this year’s conference was no different from its predecessors. Two draftresolutions relating to Israel were proposed: “Israel’s Nuclear Capabilities,” and“Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East.” Advance diplomatic activity byArab states focused especially on obtaining support for the first resolution. In the last twoyears, this resolution has become the primary battleground between Israel and the Arabstates and the yardstick for judging the success or failure of Israeli diplomacy. Behind thisyear's intensive diplomatic efforts conducted by both sides lay the Arab failure in lastyear’s vote on the proposal (51-46). Thus, the Arab effort focused on an attempt togenerate a change in the balance of power, while the Israeli effort (withAmerican/European assistance) aimed to repeat last year’s success. In the end, estimatingthat they would not be able to guarantee a majority in the conference plenum, the Arabnations decided to withdraw the draft resolution.
How can the fact that Israel and its allies scored a diplomatic coup in such a hostile arenafor the second straight year be explained? Does this indicate a new trend whereby mostmembers are no longer willing to support the Arabs singling out Israel for its nuclearactivities? Hovering in the background of the General Conference discussions and theaddresses by many of the Arab speakers were the IAEA Forum scheduled for Novemberand the conference on a WMD-free zone in the Middle East scheduled for 2012, decidedon at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. Do the results of the IAEA General Conferenceimpact on the two forthcoming gatherings, and if so, how?
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Some would explain the Arab failure by the difficulty in agreeing on a uniform stance andinadequate inter-Arab coordination, apparently in light of the Arab spring, which deflected the attention of the Arab nations towards what they regarded as more urgent issues. Inaddition, Israel’s success may be attributed to an improved diplomatic campaign andbetter coordination with the United States and European Union member nations. The latterfocused on the negative contribution that would be made by a resolution singling outIsrael, given the effort to build an atmosphere of trust on the eve of the IAEA ForumConference and the efforts to convene the 2012 conference. In this context, the EU wasable to point to the success of the seminar it held this past July in Brussels. Thus unlike in2010, once the Arab nations understood that they had no chance to win a vote, theydecided to withdraw the resolution, thereby sparing themselves a second straight loss.They explained their decision not to bring the resolution to a vote as a goodwill gesture inthe context of the IAEA Conference and the related events.
While it's great that their resolution to single out Israel on the basis of anti-Semitism, bias, and lies, this is a clear example of how the Arab states hold a majority in the U.N. and U.N. affiliated organizations and are thus able to condemn and condemn and condemn Israel for absolutely no reason. You can't take them seriously.
This shouldn't be allowed in the first place. Something needs to be done. The U.N. has lost all legitimacy - it's about time they regain some.