A New UN: Jerusalem Post, Aug. 21, 2016— The UN’s predisposition against Israel is well documented.
Give the UN Immunity for Terror?: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, Aug. 29, 2016— Since ancient times, nations have granted immunity to diplomats from arrest or mistreatment.
Jewish Settlements are Legal : Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom, Aug. 18, 2016— The misperceptions, misrepresentations and ignorance over the legal status of Jewish settlements in the disputed area of Judea and Samaria reflect the general attitude toward the unique phenomenon of the reconstruction of the Jewish national home in Israel.
Don’t Send Canadian Troops to Dysfunctional UN Missions: Matt Gurney, National Post, Aug. 16, 2016— Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, is a serious guy.
UN Security Council to Convene Meeting on Israeli Settlement Building: Danielle Ziri, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 30, 2016
The Aid Workers Aiding Hamas: Hillel Neuer, UN Watch, Aug. 19, 2016
Why an African Mission Could be More Dangerous than Afghanistan: Matthew Fisher, National Post, Aug. 29, 2016
Who Will Lead the United Nations?: John Bolton, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 7, 2016
Jerusalem Post, Aug. 21, 2016
The UN’s predisposition against Israel is well documented. A low point was undoubtedly a 1975 resolution pushed by the Soviet Union that equated Zionism with racism. The demise of the Soviet Union did not improve matters. Arab countries and other third world nations have consistently voted en bloc against the Jewish state.
For decades Israel has been the only member state consistently denied admission to a regional group, which is the organizational structure by which member states can participate in UN bodies and committees. Arab states refuse to allow Israeli membership in the Asian Regional Group, Israel’s natural geopolitical grouping. Though eventually accepted to the Western and Others Group in May 2000, Israel’s membership is limited and does not allow it to participate in the UN’s Geneva-based activities.
Israel is the only country in the world that is singled out to appear on the UN Human Rights Council’s permanent agenda. Countries that regularly commit horrific human rights abuses such as Sudan and Iran are mentioned by the HRC – if at all – as part of the general debate. Not only does the number of resolutions brought against Israel by the HRC outstrip resolutions brought against any single country, it exceeds the number brought against all other countries in the world – by a long shot. In 2015, for instance, the HRC brought 20 resolutions on purported human rights abuses against Israel and just three against all other countries – one against Iran, one against Syria and one against North Korea.
“Special rapporteurs” on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967” have outdone one another in their biased conduct. In 2008, John Dugard justified Palestinian terrorism as an “inevitable consequence” of Israel’s actions. Richard Falk compared Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to Nazi actions during the Holocaust. Justice Richard Goldstone, on behalf of the UN in 2009, leveled the claim that Israel intentionally targeted civilians, before he retracted it in an op-ed in 2011.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon admitted to the UN’s bias during his visit to Israel in August 2013.
“Unfortunately, because of the [Israeli-Palestinian] conflict, Israel’s been weighed down by criticism and suffered from bias – and sometimes even discrimination,” Ban said in response to a question about discrimination against Israel at the UN. “It’s an unfortunate situation,” he said, adding that Israel should be treated in the same way as all the other 192 member states.
The time has come for a restart. Ban ends his second term as secretary-general on December 31. Custom dictates that the job rotates between regions and it is now the turn of Eastern Europe. Two Bulgarian women are the front-runners for the position and they have an opportunity, where Ban has failed, to take steps to end the UN’s anti-Israel bias.
There have been a few positive developments in recent years. In 2009 the UN adopted an Israel-initiated resolution that deals with agricultural technology for development. And in January 2015 the General Assembly held its first-ever special session on the rise of anti-Semitic violence worldwide. Signs of normalization of relations between the UN and Israel can be discerned from the increasing amount of goods and services UN institutions purchase from Israel. In 2015, the UN purchased $91.8 million in goods and services from Israel, double the amount two years earlier. A large proportion of the goods were medical, and IT and communications equipment, which seemed to point to the attractiveness of Israel’s advanced technologies.
The UN has a long history of bias against Israel, but change is possible. Once upon a time the UN was very different. It is thanks to General Assembly Resolution 181 on the partition of Palestine that the State of Israel came into being. The appointment of a new secretary-general and next month’s General Assembly meeting present an opportunity for a reevaluation of the UN’s treatment of Israel.
The next secretary-general should take steps to integrate Israel into the UN’s institutions; end the prejudiced approach of the Human Rights Council toward Israel’s purported human rights abuses; and take further steps to normalize relations between the UN and Israel. If he or she is successful, the UN of the 21st century will more closely resemble the UN that brought the State of Israel into existence nearly 70 years ago.
Jonathan S. Tobin
Commentary, Aug. 29, 2016
Since ancient times, nations have granted immunity to diplomats from arrest or mistreatment. Without such immunity, diplomacy is virtually impossible and breaches of this tradition—such as the 1979 assault on the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the hostage crisis that followed—are not only heinous crimes but also proof of the breakdown of the rule of law anywhere such conduct is tolerated. But this important principle has sometimes been expanded to shield diplomats from the consequences of ordinary illegal behavior. As any resident of New York City knows, diplomatic license plates are a license to park illegally and not pay the tickets they are assessed. But for the United Nations, the concept of immunity has now taken a completely new meaning: any employee of the world body, even those without any diplomatic status whatsoever, are entitled to aid terrorist groups with impunity.
That’s the position the UN is taking on the case of Waheed Borsh, a Palestinian engineer who works for the United Nations Development Program, an agency tasked with assisting building projects in poor countries. Borsh has worked for the UNDP since 2003, a group that has become even more important since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas that resulted in the destruction of many homes in Gaza. But rather than carry out the UN’s mandate to rebuild civilian infrastructure and homes, Borsh was discovered to have been transferred 300 tons of building materials to the Qassam Brigades—Hamas’s military arm—in order to build a naval jetty from which it conducts operations and smuggling. Borsh also used his influence to ensure that the rebuilding of homes of Hamas officials was a UNDP priority. This meant that thanks to Borsh, the UNDP was subsidizing a terrorist group’s activities.
The UN said it was “greatly concerned” by the allegations and has “zero tolerance” for wrongdoing–a stance belied by the way all of its agencies have allowed themselves to be co-opted by Hamas in Gaza. But it nevertheless asserted this past week in a letter that Borsh should be released from Israeli custody because he should be considered to have diplomatic immunity.
The technical legality of this assertion is dubious. If any local employee of the United Nations, let alone, one of an embassy or consulate anywhere, is considered to have the immunity tradition accords actual diplomats the entire concept is called into question. It’s bad enough when real diplomats commit crimes and then are allowed to return home, albeit in disgrace. More common is when diplomats involved in spying—an activity not wholly unrelated to the business of foreign policy. But while those with diplomatic passports must be accorded a fair amount of latitude for countries to feel free to exchange representatives, giving employees of UN agencies a free pass for blatantly illegal conduct is absurd. Even more outrageous is the notion that those who aid terrorist organizations should be treated with kid gloves.
This UN demand is especially egregious when one considers the record of both the UN and other philanthropic groups in Gaza. The same week that Borsh was arrested, an employee of the World Vision humanitarian group in Gaza was also apprehended for siphoning off for Hamas tens of millions of dollars donated from well-meaning foreigners that were intended to help Palestinian children. Another recent controversy has centered on Hamas infiltration of the Save the Children organization in Gaza. Meanwhile, the United Nations Relief Works Agency was found to have hired members of Hamas and allowed its facilities and schools to be used by the terrorists for storing weapons during the 2014 war.
But rather than take responsibility for this fiasco that occurred in their name, the UN thinks Borsh and every other Palestinian working for them in Gaza ought to be given impunity for misdirecting international aid to terrorists. Israel is right to ignore this request and to vigorously prosecute all those who abuse their UN jobs in this manner. The UN has been a cesspool of corruption and anti-Semitism for so long that to speak of salvaging its reputation is a fool’s errand. Yet this incident shows how little the world body actually cares for the welfare of ordinary Palestinians, who are being shortchanged of desperately needed assistance to bolster their Islamist rulers’ military infrastructure. By invoking diplomatic immunity, the UN is calling into disrepute a basic principle upon which the entire structure of its efforts rests.
Israel Hayom, Aug. 18, 2016
The misperceptions, misrepresentations and ignorance over the legal status of Jewish settlements in the disputed area of Judea and Samaria reflect the general attitude toward the unique phenomenon of the reconstruction of the Jewish national home in Israel. "Fidelity to law is the essence of peace," opined Professor Eugene Rostow, a former dean of the Yale University Law School, undersecretary of state and a co-author of the Nov. 22, 1967, U.N. Security Council Resolution 242. Rostow resolved that under international law, "Jews have the same right to settle in the West Bank as they have in Haifa."
Rostow determined that according to Resolution 242, "Israel is required to withdraw 'from territories,' not 'the' territories, nor from 'all' the territories, but 'some' of the territories, which included the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Desert and the Golan Heights." Moreover, "resolutions calling for withdrawal from 'all' the territories were defeated in the Security Council and the General Assembly. … Israel was not to be forced back to the 'fragile and vulnerable' [9- to 15-mile wide] lines … but to 'secure and recognized' boundaries, agreed to by the parties. … In making peace with Egypt in 1979, Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai … [which amounts to] more than 90% of the territories occupied in 1967."
Former International Court of Justice President Judge Stephen M. Schwebel stated: "[The 1967] Israeli conquest of territory was defensive rather than aggressive … [as] indicated by Egypt's prior closure of the Straits of Tiran, blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat, and the amassing of [Egyptian] troops in Sinai, coupled with its ejection of the U.N. Emergency Force … [and] Jordan's initiated hostilities against Israel. … The 1948 Arab invasion of the nascent State of Israel further demonstrated that Egypt's seizure of the Gaza Strip, and Jordan's seizure and subsequent annexation of the West Bank and the Old city of Jerusalem, were unlawful. … Between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967 ]according to Article 52 of the U.N. Charter[, on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has better title in the territory of what was [British Mandate] Palestine, including the whole of Jerusalem. … It follows that modifications of the 1949 armistice lines among those states within former Palestinian territory are lawful."
The legal status of Judea and Samaria is embedded in the following authoritative, binding, internationally ratified treaties, which recognized that the area has been the cradle of Jewish history, culture, aspirations and religion:
1. The Nov. 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, issued by Britain, called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." 2. The April 24, 1920 resolution, adopted by the post-World War I San Remo Peace Conference of the Allied Powers Supreme Council, incorporated the Balfour Declaration, entrusting both sides of the Jordan River to the Mandate for Palestine: "The Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the [Balfour] declaration … in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." It was one of over 20 mandates (trusteeships) established following World War I, responsible for most boundaries in the Middle East.
3. The Mandate for Palestine, ratified on July 24, 1922, by the Council of the League of Nations, entrusted Britain to establish a Jewish state in the entire area west of the Jordan River, as demonstrated by Article 6: "[To] encourage … close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands." The mandate is dedicated exclusively to Jewish national rights. 4. The Oct. 24, 1945 Article 80 of the U.N. Charter incorporated the Mandate for Palestine into the U.N. Charter. Accordingly, the U.N. or any other entity cannot transfer Jewish rights in Palestine, including immigration and settlement, to any other party.
The Nov. 29, 1947 U.N. General Assembly Partition Resolution 181 was a nonbinding recommendation — as are all General Assembly resolutions — superseded by the binding Mandate for Palestine. The 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbors delineated the pre-1967 cease-fire — non-ratified — boundaries.
According to Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, and the Mandate for Palestine, the 1967 war of self-defense returned Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria to its legal owner, the Jewish state. Legally and geo-strategically the rules of "belligerent occupation" do not apply to Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria since the area is not "foreign territory" and Jordan did not have a legitimate title over the area in 1967. Also, the rules of "belligerent occupation" do not apply in view of the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
National Post, Aug. 16, 2016
Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, is a serious guy. A respected combat veteran of our war in Afghanistan, he has brought vast knowledge and credibility to his new job in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet. One of the priorities for our Liberal government has been finding a peacekeeping mission that Canada can contribute forces to. To that end, the Minister has been travelling through some global hotspots of late, meeting with officials and allies and discussing ways that Canada may contribute. He says that he knows how many troops Canada could spare, on top of our existing domestic security needs and our recent agreement to lead one of the four NATO augmented battalion groups being established in Eastern Europe. The Minister told the CBC he needs only a decision from cabinet as to where those troops should go.
Peacekeeping can work. When the right factors align, a properly armed and equipped neutral third party can be a critical ingredient of transforming a ceasefire into a stable peace. Canada has done honourable service on these missions in the past, and there’s nothing wrong, in theory, with seeking to do so again. But unless Canada intends to lead a mission on its own, or in partnership with like-minded nations under their own rules of engagement, Canadians have to question if this is the best use of our military resources, or even worth pursing at all.
Too many of the UN’s recent peacekeeping forays have been absolute debacles. As flattering as it is to tell ourselves that they failed for lack of sufficient Canadian involvement, the truth is probably this: the UN is too dysfunctional to operate effective peacekeeping missions in the parts of the world most urgently in need of the help.
You may have read in recent days a report about a horrific incident in South Sudan. A purportedly secure compound in the capital of South Sudan, home to foreign aid workers, including Americans and other Westerners, was besieged by armed men in South Sudanese Army uniforms. The people inside the compound called for help, notifying a nearby — one mile away, according to the report — UN base that they were under attack. The message was received and logged. And nothing was done.
The troops besieging the compound forced their way inside eventually. They took the aid workers prisoner. At least one man, a local, was executed. The men were beaten and threatened, some apparently tortured. At least five women were gang raped, by as many as 15 soldiers. Americans were singled out for particular abuse. It was, in other words, an entirely typical atrocity of the type too often seen and heard of in failing states and war zones all the world over. It’s exactly the sort of reason the international community came up with the concept of peacekeeping and stabilization missions in the first place.
But this incident does more than illustrate the need for such missions. It also illustrates how, under the current UN structure, they’ve become impotent. There are 17,000 UN troops in South Sudan. The aid workers’ compound was minutes away from local UN military headquarters. The staff there knew there was an attack against civilians, including foreign aid workers, unfolding. They logged the incoming distress calls in their logs. But the local UN quick reaction force declined to deploy. Local troops, who were waiting around for the UN to lead the mission, also stood down. Individual battalions of troops assigned to the UN mission, including Ethiopian, Chinese and Nepalese soldiers, were then contacted. None bothered to come to the aid of a group of civilians under attack by an armed force practically in their backyard. Local troops eventually rescued the civilians, except for three Western women who were taken by the attackers. The UN was asked to send a rescue party to find them, and declined.
It is an absolutely astonishing story of failure … and yet not at all that astonishing. Time after time, we have heard reports of civilians under attack while UN forces nearby do absolutely nothing. Just a few weeks ago, the Associated Press reported that UN peacekeepers in South Sudan ignored the mass rape of women who had sought shelter at a UN compound. The AP reported that the peacekeepers declined to intervene when the women were attacked by local forces, and watched as women and girls were attacked. Indeed, we’ve heard too many stories of the UN forces themselves being the attacking force, raping their way through villages they’re there to protect.
And how did the UN respond to these incidents? After the rapes near its compound last month, a spokesperson said, “The mission takes very seriously allegations of peacekeepers not rendering aid to civilians in distress and the (local UN) command is looking into these allegations.” They must still be looking into it, because that sounds a lot like what they said after the incident at the aid workers’ compound. And no doubt it’ll be what they say next time, too. The UN is supposed to be an institution that makes the international community responsible for the safety of vulnerable populations. In reality, it does the opposite —it absolves countries of taking real action by offering up instead the comforting fiction of engagement and commitment. The locals, who turn to the UN for help and are ignored, understand this better than Canada’s government seems to.
And yet we are apparently determined to offer up hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Canadian troops. These troops will be sent thousands of miles from home, away from their families and at great expense, to take their place in a system that is so dysfunctional it cannot stop the rape of women and girls that unfolds literally on the doorstep of their barracks. Canada’s troops, fine and brave as they are, can only ever be as effective as the system they are assigned to serve in, and unless the UN is willing to completely overhaul its operations, so that atrocities such as this stop happening with such bleak regularity, there’s no point tainting our troops and our proud military with any affiliation with disgraces such as these. Unless the Liberals are willing to guarantee the public that any mission Canadian troops would serve on would include rules of engagement that not just authorize but require our troops to use whatever force necessary to stop attacks on civilians, the troops shouldn’t be sent. Absent that guarantee and major reforms, there’s no point.
Come to think of it, pushing for that kind of meaningful reform of the broken UN sounds like a fine idea. The world does need peacekeepers, but it needs better peacekeepers, and better leadership, than the UN is capable of providing. This is a place Canada could lead. Perhaps the Trudeau government and our highly capable Minister of National Defence should make a priority of fixing what’s broken, rather than taking part in the dysfunctional process in exchange for praise and a chance to reassure the world, once again, that Canada’s back.
UN Security Council to Convene Meeting on Israeli Settlement Building: Danielle Ziri, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 30, 2016—The UN Security Council will hold a meeting on October 14 to address Israeli settlement building. News of the upcoming meeting emerged after UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov appeared in front of the Security Council on Monday and slammed Israel for continuing to build settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
The Aid Workers Aiding Hamas: Hillel Neuer, UN Watch, Aug. 19, 2016—The arrest of Palestinian humanitarian officials in Gaza from two separate international organizations – charged with siphoning aid resources to support Hamas terrorism – along with allegations about at least two other entities raises troubling questions about the culture within the United Nations and non-governmental agencies that allowed such crimes to take place.
Why an African Mission Could be More Dangerous than Afghanistan: Matthew Fisher, National Post, Aug. 29, 2016—The Liberal government has been silent about where in Africa Canada’s soldiers and a cadre of diplomats, aid workers and police officers will be deployed. None of the potential United Nations missions are safe. All are complex. None come with an exit strategy.
Who Will Lead the United Nations?: John Bolton, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 7, 2016—Although few Americans are paying attention, the race to succeed Ban Ki-moon as United Nations secretary-general is well under way.