To understand why the United Nations is such an important and dangerous institution, look no further than Secretary Kerry's use of the organization as a weapon against the supposed ally of the United States, Israel. The New York Times reports on the U.S.-driven Palestinian-Israeli talks: "In recent weeks, Mr. Kerry and his aides have outlined several basic arguments for why his efforts might bear fruit. Perhaps the most important one, which Mr. Kerry advanced almost the moment he was picked for the State Department post, is that the United States does not have the luxury of staying on the sidelines. With the Palestinians poised to take their claim for statehood to the International Criminal Court and United Nations bodies, American officials say the two sides were facing a downward spiral in which the Israelis would respond by cutting off financing to the Palestinian territories and European nations might curtail their investment in Israel, further isolating the Israelis."
In other words, the Palestinians threaten to use the United Nations to act unilaterally - breaking their obligations under the Security Council-endorsed "Middle East Road Map" - and the response from the Obama administration is not to threaten the Palestinians with an 'offer they can't refuse' but to threaten Israel. The supposed Palestinian "gift" of not using the UN to orchestrate an end run around negotiations is in fact not giving anything at all. It's reneging on the outcome of prior negotiations.
Actually, those prior agreements were already broken by the Palestinians last year. In the fall of 2012 the Palestinians stage-managed a UN spectacle in which they renamed themselves as "the state of Palestine" and acquired the status of UN non-member observer state. But instead of reaping serious negative consequences from the Obama administration, they encountered an administration doing just the opposite. The administration is still doing its damnedest to get Congress to annul the very limited negative financial results experienced only by the UN agency UNESCO. On every other front, U.S. dollars just keep flowing and it is diplomatic business as usual. If anything, the Palestinian move was a huge success, because allegedly President Obama and Secretary Kerry were sufficiently intimidated by the prospect of more such moves that the only possible next step was to come down hard on Israel and force it to release convicted Palestinian murderers from Israeli prisons.
So where are we? Palestinians have magnanimously agreed not to pursue unilateral UN actions - in direct contravention of their obligations - or to attempt to prosecute Israel at the "neutral" International Criminal Court (whose statute has a provision written specifically to target Israel). The Obama administration pretends it is doing Israel a favor by bringing the Palestinians to the table because their hands are tied by the UN. That would be the same UN that is dependent on American taxpayer dollars for its next breath. In other words, the UN and the Palestinians are doing exactly what the President of the United States and his Secretary of State want. Forget genocide in Syria. Millions of Egyptians on the streets can wait. Just like the UN Israel-haters have always said, Israel is the root cause of the world's problems, so bludgeoning Israel is Obama – and the UN's – game.