One of the many issues with the Goldstone Report is the false equation of terrorists and democracies--as if both follow the same rules and will both abide by international law. In an age where there is growing eagerness to apply International Humanitarian Law across the board, there is a blindness to those who do not and will not abide by the limitations democracies accept upon themselves in time of war.
Discussion of Goldstone Report falls into that very trap.
Following is an excerpt of the statement made by Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, Permanent Representative to the UN Security Council, on Wednesday.
Mr. President,If Israel is asked to take further risks for peace, the international community must recognize our right to self-defense.
Five years ago, in the pursuit of peace, Israel dismantled 21 settlements and uprooted over 8,000 Israelis from the Gaza Strip.
Former Secretary-General Kofi Annan called Israel's actions a "courageous decision." This very Council "commend[ed] the ongoing implementation of [the disengagement process]." Member States assured us that if Israel needed to defend itself, international legitimacy would be on our side.
Yet Israel's hope turned into a nightmare. Instead of promoting a functioning Palestinian society, Hamas built an infrastructure of terror.
Instead of promoting peace, Hamas murdered and silenced opposition, while inciting an entire generation to kill and hate.
Gaza is occupied by terrorism. Hamas terrorism.
Hamas openly rejects Israel's right to exist. Hamas openly rejects a two-state solution. Their charter calls for Jews to be killed and quotes notorious anti-Semitic citations. Yet the world does nothing.
As Hamas smuggled a constant supply of deadly Iranian arms into Gaza, the world did nothing. As Hamas placed weapons and launched attacks from within schools, mosques and hospitals, the world did nothing. As Hamas fired 12,000 rockets against one million innocent Israeli men, women and children, the world did nothing. This, Mr. President, is the situation in the Middle East.
Mr. President, Distinguished Members of this Council,
This monthly debate, this monthly meeting was supposed to take place next week, but was rescheduled due to what was described as the urgency of the matter.
An officious bystander would think that the issue of such an urgent meeting would be the continuous shelling of Israeli territory by terrorists from Gaza and Lebanon, or the continuous threats from Iran's nuclear development.
However, the "urgency" of the matter is a pretext to hijack the Council's agenda by raising here an issue that belongs elsewhere.
The Member State responsible for this dereliction of procedure is, as we all know, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
This is the Member State, a true champion of human rights, who recently offered an official triumphant hero's welcome to an arch-terrorist. This arch-terrorist is responsible for the cold-blooded murder of hundreds of innocent men, women and children over the skies of Lockerbie.
This is the same Member State, whose leader in his memorable soliloquy before the General Assembly three weeks ago, named this Security Council a "Terror Council."
Today we heard references to the Goldstone Report. Although the debate on this report belongs elsewhere, let me state Israel's position briefly.
I regret to say that the Goldstone report is one-sided, biased and therefore wrong - just as the forum and the mandate that established its mission. The report favors and legitimizes terrorism. It is a prize for terrorist organizations.
It denies Israel's right to defend its citizens. It falls directly into the pitfall strategically laid down by terrorist organizations around the world.
It prevents, and will prevent democratic Member States from defending themselves against terrorism. It permits terrorists to victimize civilians, target the innocent, and use as human shields those it claims to defend.
By trying to bring this report before a so-called urgent debate in this Council, this Council's attention was diverted from the reality in our region.
Rather than dealing with the situation in the Middle East and instead of encouraging the parties to move towards peace and resume negotiations, the debate in this Council has been shifted to discussing a narrative that is destructive to the peace process.
For those of us who seek to resume the peace process in the Middle East, debating the Goldstone Report in the Security Council is but a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
If Israel is asked to take further risks for peace, the international community must recognize our right to self-defense.
Thank you, Mr. President. [emphasis added]
That, of course, is the key--but it is beyond what the UN is able to do.
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