...“You make peace with your enemies, not your friends,” British and American officials repeatedly tell Israel, which is concerned that the Iranian regime, the main supplier of terrorist organizations on three fronts, has made no attempt to change the rhetoric about wiping the Jewish state off the map. The UN might have a few words to say about that. Maybe not.
27 August '15..
I can sum up the miserable situation in the world “in a few words.”
That particular phrase, in fact.
That’s my conclusion after reading the official United Nations statement containing “The briefing to the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East” given by Jeffrey Feltman, under secretary- general for political affairs.
The written version of the briefing was nearly 2,000-words long. More than 1,600 words were dedicated to the situation in Israel and Gaza, beginning with: “I address you at a time when the risk of escalation in Israel and Palestine is palpable. The past month has witnessed unconscionable crimes of hatred by extremist elements, reprehensible retaliatory violence, provocations at Jerusalem’s holy sites, and a worrying increase in rockets launched from Gaza towards Israel.
“The coming days will mark the one-year anniversary of the conclusion of last year’s devastating Gaza conflict – a conflict from which the Palestinians of Gaza have yet to recover....”
There’s an appeal “to work together to reduce tensions, reject violence and prevent extremists from escalating the situation and hijacking the political agenda.”
That Israelis also continue to suffer from trauma and fears following the 50-day mini war either didn’t occur to Feltman or didn’t seem to be worth mentioning.
Feltman reiterates, at length, “the Secretary-General’s strong condemnation of the horrific terrorist arson attack against a Palestinian family in the occupied West Bank village of Duma, during the early hours of 31 July, apparently committed by extremist Jewish settlers...
“The Secretary-General welcomes the strong condemnations of the attack by Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, as well as by political and religious leaders from across the spectrum.”
There is caution about the use of administrative detention of both Palestinians and Jews – a warning with which I identify.
This being the UN, along with the Israel obsession there is a call to continue to strive for peace. “But over 20 years of failed negotiations have bred mistrust and, worse, the slow and painful withering of hope.
In such a contentious environment, restoring confidence, before a return to realistic negotiations, is a must. What is needed now is a comprehensive approach on three levels – on the ground, in the region, and with the international community – to alter fundamentally the current negative dynamics and begin to shape a clear and positive pathway towards peace.”
The briefing contains a detailed list of security incidents in the West Bank, noting that Israel carried out “some 188 search-and-arrest operations....
Six Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli security forces, including a 17-year-old. Twelve members of the Israeli security forces were also wounded, with no fatalities reported.”
There’s no context and Israel is the only country whose anti-terrorism measures are reviewed regularly by the UN and which is expected to feel guilty that not enough soldiers and police officers have been killed.
The briefing also gives a blow-by-blow account of the demolition of structures and homes the Israeli authorities consider to be illegal.
Islamic Jihad member Muhammad Allan, who at the time of the briefing was still on hunger strike, received a mention due to the dilemmas surrounding the issue of force-feeding. (Allan’s family and supporters opposed it, further endangering his life, while the Israeli authorities on the whole did not want to risk turning Allan into a martyr like the IRA detainees who died on British prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s watch).
Feltman’s briefing also addresses the change in Israeli law that lengthens sentences for those who throw stones at moving vehicles, noting: “The law is likely to affect children disproportionately.” Israelis, but not Feltman apparently, are familiar with the name of four-yearold Adele Biton, who died a few months ago following two years of suffering after the car her mother was driving crashed when rocks were thrown at it, far from the only Israeli fatality in similar low-tech terrorist attacks.
I’m skipping large sections of the speech but it notes that the secretary- general “condemns the 24 rockets fired at Israel by Palestinian militants in Gaza,” was “relieved” that the UNRWA schools would open in time for the school year, and contains a plea that “a sustainable solution... be found to address UNRWA’s long-term funding needs.”
The briefing on Gaza also notes that in the incidents “that took place following the Duma arson attack, a 17-year-old Palestinian was shot dead and two others were injured by Israeli security forces.”
And then, finally, Feltman says: “Madam President, “A few words about the situation in Lebanon and Syria.”
I’M RELIEVED that the esteemed under secretary-general for political affairs noticed that something has been going on there. Two paragraphs’ worth of written speech, to be precise.
4 days ago