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Resources updated between Monday, January 05, 2009 and Sunday, January 11, 2009

Friday, January 09, 2009

Shame On Bush And Condi

Anne Bayefsky

This article, by Anne Bayefsky, originally appeared in Forbes.

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.

A president whose friendship and alliance with Israel once appeared honest, perceptive and unshakable, decided two weeks before leaving office to throw Israel to the wolves. The resolution calls for a ceasefire in Gaza and does not even mention the word "Hamas."

There will no longer be a need for an Obama transition team on foreign policy. The outgoing president and secretary of State have done it all. Yesterday's resolution, along with another Condoleezza Rice-inspired resolution from mid-December, draws Israel into a Security Council spider web that U.N. enthusiasts have been weaving for decades.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton can simply step into George W. Bush and Condi Rice's shoes, label themselves new-age multilateralists and let the chips--in this case, remnants of Israel--fall where they may.

The Security Council resolution makes a mockery of Israel's right of self-defense. In fact, it makes no mention of a right of self-defense at all. Eight thousand mortars have rained down on Israel from the Gaza Strip over a period of eight years.

Israel withdrew every Israeli man, woman and child from Gaza three and a half years ago. Yet the United Nations draws an equivalence between a terrorist organization whose very modus operandi is to target civilians and a state whose aim is to protect civilians, Israeli and Palestinian.

Arab states could scarcely contain their glee. The U.K. went out in front and accepted the idea of a much stronger resolution instead of a Security Council presidential statement, and Secretary of State Rice rolled over and played dead within minutes.

Veto-wielding powers had reportedly given undertakings to Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that they would not permit a resolution. These promises were ignored in the face of allegedly enormous pressure from undemocratic thugs, state sponsors of terrorism and weak democracies cowering at the prospect of unhappy Muslim constituencies or a dent in their bank accounts from belligerent Arab sheiks. What, moaned U.S. officials, was poor Condi to do?

Here is what she did:

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.

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.

When it was over, Secretary of State Rice "abstained" with the following words: "this resolution, the text of which we support, the goals of which we support, and the objectives that we fully support, should indeed be allowed to go forward." These words led other ambassadors to point out that the resolution had, in effect, been adopted by consensus.

For over half a century, the state of Israel and its tiny population has been on the front lines of a war against an evil that plagues every decent human being on earth. Israel has time and again sacrificed its children in freedom's cause.

In leaving Israel to fend for itself in an international arena controlled by the enemies of decency and good, President Bush walks shamefully off the international stage, leaving in shambles everything he has stood for since Sept. 11, 2001.

Israel's prime minister reacted to the resolution today by pointing to the obvious: It "will not be honored in actual fact by the Palestinian murder organizations." And though UN actors wish it were otherwise, "The State of Israel has never agreed that any outside body would determine its right to defend the security of its citizens."

This is a universal principle with which every American--and the U.N. Charter--would agree.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

This article, by Anne Bayefsky, originally appeared in The New York Daily News.

The United Nations war on Israel has never been on the back burner, and its feeding frenzy over Gaza is no exception. The Security Council has now held four sessions. The General Assembly has scheduled an emergency session for Thursday night, and on Friday, the UN's lead human rights body, the Human Rights Council, will hold a special session to damn Israel.

To put this in perspective, the Security Council is the UN's lead response to terrorism. After 9/11, the Security Council started convening as "the Counter-Terrorism Committee" or CTC. The CTC has never identified a single terrorist, terrorist organization or state sponsor of terrorism - because the Islamic chokehold on the UN leaves it without a definition of terrorism to this day.

The General Assembly has had 10 emergency sessions in its history. Six of those, including the 10th, have been on Israel, and the tenth has been "reconvened" 16 times since 1997. In other words, there is a permanent General Assembly emergency session on Israel. The same Assembly never managed to hold a single emergency session on the 800,000 people who died in the Rwandan genocide, or the 3 million who are dead or displaced in Sudan.

As for the "reformed" Human Rights Council, it is now holding its fifth special session on Israel. By comparison, the Council has held nine regular sessions on human rights in all of the other 191 UN states. In fact, over its two and a half-year history, the Council has condemned Israel more often than all other states in the United Nations combined.

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that since Israel finally decided to defend itself against the 8,000 rockets and mortar shells directed at its civilian population over eight years, the long UN knives have been quickly drawn. In addition to all the meetings, which are now webcast for propaganda purposes around the world, UN officials have used their global platforms to vilify the Jewish state and to try to tie Israel's hands behind its back. In one form or another, UN officials always manage to choke on the word "self-defense."

From out of the woodwork come UN gurus from the myriad UN bodies which have Israel-bashing as part of their job description: Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967; Karen AbuZayd, Commission-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA); John Ging, UNRWA Director of Operations in Gaza; Maxwell Gaylard, United Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories (UNSCO), Paul Badji and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process; and Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, World Food Program Representative in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Right alongside those folks for the past two weeks have been the UN "experts" and agencies whose well-being - their stature and internal authority, re-appointment, promotion, pension, operational funding and institutional perks of all kinds - depend on being on the Arab side of all Arab-Israeli conflicts. These people include the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator; the UN Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator (OCHA); the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; the Chairperson of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures; the Executive Director, UN Population Fund (UNFPA); and the Director-General, UNESCO.

Together all of these UN actors have mounted a feverish chorus alleging that Israel has committed "wanton aggression," "monstrosities," "massacres," and "crimes against humanity." In each case humanized Palestinian victims are placed on one side of the scale, and a small number of Israeli deaths are set on the other. Evidently, the UN only started counting Israeli bodies last week. Left out of this phony "proportionality test" is the terror associated with every Hamas-driven attempt to cause more death and destruction. And it is politically incorrect in the extreme to mention that the blameless Palestinians freely elected a terrorist group sworn to killing Jews.

In short, Hamas has perfected a form of human sacrifice in the 21st century. It launches rockets from schools, uses ambulances as transport, hides behind women and children, and wears civilian clothing as camouflage. Palestinian civilian casualties are the Palestinian leadership's weapon of choice. The only body still allegedly oblivious to this grotesque calculation is the UN. Asked about Hamas' use of civilians as human shields, UNRWA chief, AbuZayd responded: "I don't know of these human shields being used... What I would say is that Hamas very much leave us alone; let me say, they respect us."

The UN cacophony is not what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had envisaged for her swan song. She hoped to exit with a Security Council resolution that she rammed through on December 16th, against Israel's wishes, praising her stillborn Annapolis initiative and bringing UN tentacles ever closer to their Israeli target by involving the Security Council more closely in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Which brings us to today's situation. Every anti-Israel idea out there has one major goal - whether it is propagated by France, Europe, Russia, Egypt, or the UN. They all want in on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Solutions subject to negotiations between the parties? Israeli control over its own borders? Not if any of these players can help it.

The drafts of UN presidential statements and resolutions now being floated include one key element. Wrest control from Israel and diminish Israeli sovereignty. The drafts insert international players via calls to "provide protection for civilian populations" or "establish and deploy an international observer force." Any such insertion of international actors will have only one result: to diminish the ability of Israel now and in the future to protect its citizens.

Israeli leaders must reject any formula that smacks of such a degradation of their inherent right to control their own destiny. And as for the United States, if President Bush is looking for an honorable swan song, it's now or never. This is the moment to tell your Secretary of State, after her years of a vain-glorious search for approval from the international community, that Israel is not for sale.

January 7, 2009

January 6, 2009

January 5, 2009