Monday, January 12, 2009

Can A UN Security Council Resolution Ever Be Good For Israel?

On Thursday, the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

David Hazony thinks its good:

Thursday night’s UN Security Council resolution on the Gaza war barely made headlines in the West. That’s probably because it was really bad news, all in all, for Hamas.

True, it calls for an “immediate” cease-fire in Gaza. Yet the whole phrase is “immediate, durable, and fully respected” — which is just the kind of cease-fire Israel has been calling for as well. This is only the beginning. Consider:

1. Israel is not condemned anywhere in the resolution. The only condemnation is against “all acts of violence and terror directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism.” Simply read, this is a condemnation of Hamas alone. [compare with Bayefsky's point 7]

2. The resolution does not demand the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, but only that the cease-fire “lead… to the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. ” Again, Israel has no problem with this.

3. The only country mentioned by name in the context of efforts to achieve a cease-fire is Egypt. Yet Egypt wants, probably more than any other Arab country, the utter removal of Hamas from the scene. Any cease-fire brokered by Egypt will see to Egyptian interests as a first order of business.

Even given the unexpected determination Israel has demonstrated in Operation Cast Lead, I'm still not sure that comparing an element in the resolution with what Israel is asking for necessarily makes the resolution palatable.`

In any case, in Shame On Bush And Condi, Anne Bayefsky writes:

Betrayal. No other word describes the reversal of American foreign policy that took place on the night of Jan. 8 when the U.S. refused to veto the Security Council resolution on Gaza.

And it turns out that Bayefsky also has a list, based on Condoleeza Rice's refusal to have the resolution vetoed:

1. The resolution she supported makes no mention whatsoever of Israel's right of self-defense.

2. The resolution calls for a ceasefire while Israel is still under fire, thus gutting the right of self-defense.

3. The resolution puts a right of "all" states "to live in peace"--though Israel is the only state under fire--in its preamble instead of in the operative section of the resolution, where it would have carried substantive weight.

4. The resolution expresses grave concern only about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. No concern is expressed over the humanitarian crisis in Israel that has forced half a million people into underground holes for eight years and left Jewish children growing up with the trauma of fleeing and hiding throughout their young lives.

5. The resolution makes no mention of any need to return Hamas kidnap-victim and Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. It does not even demand that Hamas or the Palestinian Authority abide by the humanitarian requirement under international law to permit a single visit to Shalit from the International Red Cross or any other international agency.

6. The resolution calls for "unimpeded" provision and distribution throughout Gaza of myriad forms of humanitarian assistance--which obviously makes the conduct of war against Hamas terrorists impossible.

7. The resolution condemns "all acts of terrorism"--without mentioning the identity of the terrorist--leaving Islamic countries to claim that Israel is the state terrorist and that the condemnation has nothing to do with Hamas. [compare with Hazony's first point]

8. The resolution places no mandatory responsibility on Egypt to stop the trafficking of weapons into the terrorist-controlled Gaza strip. It merely "calls for member states to intensify efforts" to stop the trafficking.

9. The resolution promotes further international intervention in the Arab-Israeli conflict, rather than a negotiated settlement between the two parties, by "welcoming…an international meeting in Moscow in 2009." Code language for shoving U.N. terms and conditions down Israel's throat.

10. The kicker is that the Security Council "decides to remain seized of the matter." This means Israel's failure to abide by any of the points in the resolution is grounds for more and more Security Council meetings designed to thwart Israel's right to defend itself against the terrorism that threatens all civilized societies.

Who's right--is the resolution good or bad for Israel?
Judge for yourself, but we are after all talking about the UN.

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