For years, I have a low-key interest in the Palestinian "diplomatic" representation abroad, that ambitious effort to endow first a terrorist group (the PLO) and then a terrorist authority (the PA) with the trappings of a legitimate state. I reported on one personal encounter in 1993, "Dining out with the PLO in Prague," where I noted "two oddities: that the PLO should reach out to someone like me and that it should host such an elegant and thoroughly bourgeois dinner party."
Today's news from Pyongyang, includes the riveting fact that "Leader Kim Jong Il received floral baskets and congratulatory letters from the diplomatic corps and officials in charge of the cultural and friendly relations of foreign embassies here on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his start of work at the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea." Of particular note is that "The floral basket and congratulatory letter from the diplomatic corps here were conveyed to Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun by Palestinian Ambassador E. P. Shaher Mohammed Abdlah who is doyen of the corps." How reassuring to learn that things may be an anarchic shambles at home, but in North Korea, the Palestinian pretence to constitute a state is proceeding ahead as ever. (June 18, 2004)
July 8, 2004 update: More Palestinian flowers! In a touching gesture to mark the tenth anniversary of the long-time tyrant's death, Yasir Arafat sent a floral basket "to the statue of President Kim Il Sung standing on Mansu Hill." Palestinian "ambassador" Abdlah again did the honors. Written on the ribbon were the words "Your Excellency the Great Leader Kim Il Sung Will Live Forever." Maybe Arafat is hoping for the same?