Ahead of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's trip to Washington this week, the US has been urging Israel to "tone down" its rhetoric on Iran and to stop threatening a military strike on its nuclear installations, The Jerusalem Post has learned.Iran is the country that has been doing anything but toning down the rhetoric:
- "Israel must be wiped off the map of the world…and God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism."
- "the establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world"
- "the Islamic Umma (Nation) will not allow its historic enemy to live in its heartland"
- "All the conditions for the removal of the Zionist regime are at hand."
- "Nations in the region will be more furious every day. It won’t take long before the wrath of the people turns into a terrible explosion that will wipe the Zionist entity off the map."
- "The basic problem in the Islamic world is the existence of the Zionist regime, and the Islamic world and the region must mobilize to remove this problem."
Back in October 2005 when Ahmadinejad first started talking about wiping out Israel, the UN Security Council responded:
The U.N. Security Council has condemned recent comments by Iran's president that Israel should be "wiped off the map" but did not say if the world body planned any action against Iran.
At the time, then-Israeli ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman commented made the overly optimistic statement:
"I certainly think that a country whose head of state calls for the destruction of any other member state of the United Nations does not deserve a seat in this very civilized organization."
And it's not as if the UN did not have the power and authority to do just that. According to an article by two lawyers in the Washington Post:
Ahmadinejad's words clearly violate Article 2.4 of the U.N. Charter. This provision, to which Iran has agreed, requires all U.N. member states to "refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state." Ahmadinejad's specific formulation -- wiping Israel off the map and prophesying a coming nuclear conflagration in which much of humanity would expire -- also clearly entails a threat of committing genocide, which member nations are obliged, under the Genocide Convention, to prevent.This is not just a question of UN niceties, it is an issue of International Law. According to the same article:
But Ahmadinejad's rant features a direct and unequivocal threat, and it gives Israel a valid casus belli -- under both Article 51 (self-defense) of the U.N. Charter and customary international law -- to use preemptive force as a means of ensuring that Iran cannot make good on its stated intentions.
Indeed, the International Court of Justice, in a 1996 opinion analyzing the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, found that use-of-force threats that violated Article 2.4 and were not otherwise justified under Article 51 also posed a threat to international peace and security, thereby further infringing the U.N. Charter. Since Israel has not committed aggression against Iran, Ahmadinejad's statements cannot be justified as self-defense. They have, in fact, created a legally cognizable threat that can, and should, be addressed by the Security Council under its Chapter VII powers, which are concerned with threats to peace.
As it turned out, it wasn't until Ahmadinejad said that "The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm," that the UN finally did take action--and elected Iran to a vice-chair position on the U.N. Disarmament Commission--no doubt to encourage Iran into being co-operative.
Now the US is playing nice with Iran as well.
Pity no one plays nice with Israel.