Every single day, hundreds of African tribesmen are killed in Darfur by militias acting with the blessing of Sudan's Arab Islamist government. Each day, Hamas bombs from Gaza deliberately target innocent Israeli civilians in Sderot: although the weapons are crude, they occasionally find their mark -- last week a Qassam killed Fatima Slutsker, a 57-year-old (Muslim) Israeli woman who was waiting for her (Jewish) Israeli husband at a bus stop. Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, has ratcheted up its campaign of violence this week, assassinating a Maronite Christian cabinet minister in Lebanon in a blatant attempt to provoke a constitutional crisis. (As of this writing, under the Byzantine Lebanese constitution, the terrorist group needs to eliminate only one more minister to bring about the collapse of the government.) The life-span of Zimbabweans is 34 years, and 550,000 have died over the past three years due to deliberate policies of the Mugabe dictatorship.
All of these barbaric crimes are human and moral tragedies that call for international action, prioritization, even obsession. But that self-proclaimed source of international legitimacy, the United Nations is not obsessed or even particularly concerned with any of them. None of these abuses of human rights by authoritarian regimes or movements was the object of the General Assembly resolution "condemning the military assaults...which have caused loss of life and extensive destruction...of property...in particular the killing of many... civilians, including children and women." For none of these violations of the right to life did the UN summon righteous indignation to "emphasize the importance of the safety and well-being of all civilians" and demand "the immediate cessation of military incursions and all acts of violence, terror, provocation, incitement and destruction."
Rather, since November 7, the UN has been obsessed with one accident, committed in self-defense, by the world body's favorite pariah, the democratic State of Israel.
A brief reminder of uncontoverted facts is in order:
* In August 2005 Israel disengaged from the entire Gaza strip, after pledges by the Palestinian Authority (PA) that it would not use the area to wage war on Israel, and that it would remain faithful to the "roadmap for peace."
* Immediately after Israeli disengagement the Palestinians broke their word. Hamas-backed terrorists have fired more than 1,000 Qassam rockets at Israeli civilians like Mrs. Slutsker. Via arms smuggling operations in southern Gaza, terrorists have brought in more than 30 tons of high explosives. This massive smuggling of lethal weapons from Egypt has taken place with the silent complicity of Cairo (Egypt had promised to seal its border against terrorist traffic under an international accord brokered Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice), and with no effort by PA police to prevent the transit. Indeed, the Palestinian government itself essentially declared war on Israel with the election of Hamas. The kidnapping of an Israel soldier and killing of two others by forces the PA clearly harbors if not supports is another transparent act of war.
* Bombs fall regularly on Sderot and Ashkelon, Israel, from northern Gaza in general and from the village of Beit Hanoun in particular. Hamas spokesmen have admitted that one of their key objectives is to force the evacuation of all Israeli towns and villages around the Gaza Strip. Obliged to protect its own civilians, Israel initially used its intelligence to target the locations of individual murderers, but both because of intelligence failures and the craven use of Palestinian women and children as human shields, the Jewish state has put these targeted killings on hold.
* Israel's remaining recourse, short of re-occupying Gaza (which doubtless will incur the indignant wrath of the world community...) is to launch missiles at the sites of rocket launchers. This it has done. Because of equipment failure, one single missile missed its mark, landing instead on an apartment house and tragically killing nineteen women and children. Israel expressed extreme regret immediately for this event (one searches in vain for such contrition from Hamas). But of course the Hamas murderers are the ones who bear ultimate moral responsibility for these deaths.
* Angry residents screamed at the car that brought UN Commission on Human Rights Louise Arbour under heavy security to Sderot early Tuesday. The day before, Québécoise law professor had slammed Israel for "intolerable violations" of Palestinian human rights during a visit to Gaza's Beit Hanoun.
Therein lies the rub, the incredible rub, the impossible-to-explain-otherwise-than-as-a
This asymmetry is well understood by Palestinians. The Jabaliya Refugee Camp in Gaza was the scene of Palestinian celebrations earlier this week. Locals celebrated the victory of female "human shields" in thwarting an air strike against the home of murderous terrorist Wail Barud. Note the implications of this celebration: it demonstrates that Palestinians know that Israel does not seek to kill civilians wholesale. Palestinians do not believe their own propaganda about the Zionist thirst for blood -- otherwise they would not have been able to recruit those human shields. Human shields are worthless in the face of the heinous enemy Israel is supposed to be. If Israel placed "human shields" in front of Hamas, they would be mowed down.
In the face of this asymmetry, how does the international community react? Why, by blaming the Jews, as Ms. Arbour has done. For fourteen days, despite all the tragedies in the world, the UN has done virtually nothing but condemn Israel for its reasonable act of self-defense.
* The General Assembly convened a special emergency session on November 17 to censure Israel. Were the circumstances of Beit Hanoun not so tragic, this episode would read like a satirical farce. The session was called by none other than Fidel Castro's mouthpiece at Turtle Bay, Cuban Ambassador Rodrígo Malmierca Díaz, acting as chair of the "Non-Aligned Movement." Diaz was seconded by Senegalese envoy Paul Badji, chair of the "UN Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People." (There is no committee for the rights of the Jews, Christians, Bahais, Darfurians, Tibetans, or members of other faiths in Muslim countries.) Next to the podium was none other than the ambassador of that country of free and fair elections, Ilgar Mammadov of Azerbaijian, chair of the "Organization of the Islamic Conference." Israel's UN representative, Ambassador Dan Gillerman, was diplomatically understating it when he said the General Assembly was being "used, abused, and hijacked."
* The special emergency session's anti-Israel resolution passed by 156 votes to 7. Only Australia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, and Palau joined Israel and the United States in opposition. (Canada, Côte d'Ivoire, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu abstained.) The resolution called, inter alia, for the establishment of an international mission under the personal supervision of UN chief Kofi Annan to probe the "circumstances of the incident," as well as a demand that the UN defend the Palestinian population. American media reported that former US President Jimmy Carter might instead head the probe committee. (Carter's latest book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, slams Israel as an "apartheid state," undoubtedly to establish his "expert credentials" to undertake assignments on behalf of the international lynch mob.) Fortunately, resolutions of the General Assembly, while bothersome, are not legally binding.
* Only a U.S. veto, wielded by Ambassador John Bolton, avoided a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel which would have been legally binding, opening the way to sanctions. Ambassador Bolton was furious at the blatant perfidy of the international body. His remarks are worth quoting at some length. "This type of resolution serves only to exacerbate tensions by serving the interests of elements hostile to Israel's inalienable and recognized right to exist," he noted. "This deepens suspicions about the United Nations that will lead many to conclude that the organization is incapable of playing a helpful role in the region." "In a larger sense, the United Nations must confront a more significant question, that of its relevance and utility in confronting the challenges of the 21st century. We believe that the United Nations is ill served when its members seek to transform the organization into a forum that is a little more than a self-serving and a polemical attack against Israel or the United States," Bolton continued. "The problem of anti-Israel bias is not unique to the Human Rights Council. It is endemic to the culture of the United Nations. It is a decades-old, systematic problem that transcends the whole panoply of the UN organizations and agencies." [This is the man the Democrats want to eliminate as our UN ambassador - we think he should win the Nobel Peace Prize.]
* Last week the laughable UN Human Rights Council held its third special session in less than six months focusing on Israel alone.. In its entire existence the Human Rights Council has failed to pass one resolution on any country other than Israel, events taking place in Burma, North Korea Cuba, and the states mentioned to at the beginning of this essay notwithstanding. (See our article earlier this year on the Human Rights Council.)
Meanwhile, back in the real world, ninety-two percent of respondents in a recent poll of one thousand adult Egyptians characterize Israel as an enemy state. Only 2 percent see Israel as "a friend to Egypt." These sentiments express themselves in many ways, including a popular song entitled "I Hate Israel," venomously anti-Semitic Egyptian political cartoons, bizarre conspiracy theories, and terrorist attacks against visiting Israelis. Egypt's leading democracy movement, Kifaya, recently launched an initiative to collect a million signatures on a petition demanding the annulment of the March 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty. (One wonders if they intend to return the Sinai to Israel, since it was relinquished in consideration of peace?)
Mark Steyn muses on the blatant double standard of the international community in an essay in the Jerusalem Post:
"The Zionist Entity is for the moment permitted to remain in business but, like Aaron Lazarus, it's not entitled to the enforceable property rights of every other nation state. No other country - not Canada, not Slovenia, not Thailand - would be expected to forego the traditional rights of nations subjected to kidnappings of its citizens, random rocket attacks into residential areas, and other infringements of its sovereignty....
"...by ensuring that the ‘Palestinian question' is never resolved one is also ensuring that Israel's sovereignty is also never really settled.... The Jew is tolerated as a current leaseholder but, as in Anthony Hope's Ruritania, he can never truly own the land. Once again the Jews are rootless transients, though, in one of history's blacker jests, they're now bemoaned in the salons of London and Paris as an outrageous imposition of an alien European population on the Middle East.... With hindsight, even the artful invention of the hitherto unknown ethnicity of ‘Palestinian' can be seen as the need to demonstrate that where there is a Jew there is the Jew's victim. It's a very strange feeling to read 19th century novels and travelogues and recognize the old psychoses currently reemerging in even more preposterous forms. These are dark times for the world: we are on the brink of the nuclearization of ancient pathologies."
The threat of a second Holocaust grows more acute by the day. The mutation of the world's oldest hatred, in a West that stood by during the first Holocaust, cries out for immediate response. Who, apart from America, is willing to furnish one?
Michael I. Krauss is professor of law at George Mason University School of Law. J. Peter Pham is director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University. Both are adjunct fellows of the "Foundation for the Defense of Democracies".
© American Thinker 2006