Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It Has To Be Asked: Can Israel Trust The UN?

In my post UN Cannot Unilaterally Declare A Palestinian State Because Of--The UN, I concluded that
We still have to wait and see if the UN Security Council will uphold Resolution 242 in accordance with its actual intent.
Evelyn Gordon is also not entirely certain that the UN can be counted on, noting that using the 1967 borders as the PA is seeking to do
would radically alter the existing international position, prejudice the outcome of negotiations, and probably spark an escalating war of unilateral moves and countermoves. But it would also have another deleterious effect: it would provide further proof that international guarantees to Israel are worthless. And because reliable international guarantees will be a necessary part of any Israeli-Palestinian agreement, this would make a deal significantly less likely. [emphasis added]
And that is part of the issue, isn't it--whether international guarantees in general and the UN in particular can be relied upon. Gordon believes that
In truth, the Security Council has already made this pretty clear, via its treatment of Resolution 1310, which certified Israel’s unilateral pullout from Lebanon in 2000 as complete to the last inch. Almost immediately after that resolution passed, Hezbollah began insisting that the pullout was not complete because Israel still occupied the “Lebanese territory” of Shaba Farms. Yet UN experts had previously determined that Shaba was Syrian, not Lebanese, and that determination served as the basis for both Israel’s pullout and the subsequent Security Council endorsement.

But instead of sticking by this endorsement, the international community quickly backtracked: in 2006, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1701, which ordered the UN to delineate “the international borders of Lebanon, especially in those areas where the border is disputed or uncertain, including by dealing with the Shebaa farms area.” The UN subsequently set up a new mapping commission to do so. And while the commission has yet to submit its final conclusions, the Israeli press reported two years ago already that it intends to declare Shaba Lebanese

This sends a pretty clear message: there’s no such thing as a “final” border for Israel; anytime an Arab state demands additional territory, the UN will happily scrap its own previous determination of the “final” border and favorably consider the new Arab request.
Of course, the UN is not alone in having proved in the past as having been less than a reliable friend of Israel. Caroline Glick provides a list of US strongarm tactics used on Israel:

So it was in 1956, when Eisenhower forced David Ben-Gurion to beat a speedy retreat from the Sinai and Gaza at the end of the Suez campaign. The president justified the uncompromising demand by promising Israel that if the Egyptians were again to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, the US would send its navy to reopen the waterway by force. In 1967, when Gamal Abdel Nasser closed the straits, president Lyndon Johnson begged off, forcing Israel to stand alone.

After the Six Day War, which should have led to a complete political reshuffling of the region, the US again protected Israel’s neighbors.

In 1973, the US administration was again on hand, wresting the Egyptians from the jowls of defeat. Henry Kissinger prevented Israel from destroying Egypt’s Third Army, allowed the Egyptians to escape with honor and thus enabled the creation of the current Egyptian myth – that Israel lost that war.

The Ford and Carter administrations strongly pressured Israel to sign away the Sinai in exchange for peaceful ties with Egypt, which after 23 years have yet to materialize, although Egypt, rearmed with American assistance, now poses a military threat unimaginable in the past.

In Lebanon in 1982, the Reagan administration stepped in to save a routed Arafat. The Americans paved the way for his escape with his troops from Beirut to Tunis, free to fight another day. In the meantime, the US forced Israel to withdraw from much of Lebanon and allowed the Syrian army to remain.

And in the Gulf war, the first Bush administration not only prevented Israel from achieving political advantage, it prohibited Israel even from defending itself against unprovoked Iraqi ballistic missile attacks. After isolating Israel from the coalition, the administration proceeded to force its democratic ally to the negotiating table to discuss the transfer territory to the Arabs. When the negotiations failed to bear fruit, the administration meddled in the 1992 elections to assist in the victory of the more forthcoming Labor Party.

Although the Clinton administration served in a decade unscathed by large-scale war, but marked by an increase in rogue states’ audacity and terrorist attacks on US targets, Clinton consistently urged Israel to accept Palestinian terrorism and insisted on turning a blind eye to blatant PA breaches of its commitments to Israel. The Clinton administration’s addiction to pressuring Israel to accept Arab aggression under the guise of peacemaking led to unprecedented meddling in Israel’s internal politics. The end result could be seen in the twin pictures of Clinton impertinently announcing his peace plan after his successor had already been elected, and Madeleine Albright chasing after Arafat outside the US Embassy in Paris in a vain attempt to get him to return to the negotiating table he had just overturned.

The Obama administration's claim that the US had no formal understanding with Israel regarding settlements is only the latest example of the vagaries of the guarantees made to Israel over the years.

The question now is whether the UN will stand by its own resolutions.

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Anonymous said...

Israel can trust that the UN will constantly attack her.

Cory said...

This is a very important question. The UN has such potential for good, such opportunity to do great things for the world (and in some cases it does i.e. UNICEF, support for refugees in places like Pakistan and Subsaharan Africa.) It has fallen quite a bit from its lofty goals. It's become a tool for blocks of states to often make use of the principles they shun--democracy--to advance policies that most of the developped world would never otherwise support.

The UN needs serious reform before not only Israel can trust it, but also before it can be used to actually improve the lives of the worlds most downtrodden and unrepresented and not just act as a clearing house for the hatred of certain state blocks.

Daled Amos said...

And if the UN cannot be reformed, there are other options.