June 7, 2016

Israel and the United Nations

Alex Beigelman ‘18

            Israel is the most developed, socially-open and only democratic country in the Middle East. In the international community – the United Nations, specifically – however, Israel is not treated fairly and not given praise for their work in furthering modern, liberal ideals.
Throughout history, there have been over 75 UN resolutions condemning Israel. It is remarkable that a democracy that prides itself on being fair and accepting can receive these condemnations while closed, brutal regimes like those in China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and other countries which have committed genocide, enslaved people, begun horrific wars, instigated instability and other violations of international law have received none.
While Israel is being condemned, the Palestinians and Hamas have never been forced to deal with condemnation or international investigations. In fact, the UN has created six different departments or funds for Palestinians exclusively including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the Division for Palestinian Rights and the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People.
            One of the earliest actions of the United Nations, after its creation in 1945, was the partition in British Mandate Palestine. In the early days of the organization, Israel was neither a focus nor an enemy. The UN sided with Israel in 1956 on the issue of the Suez Canal in Egypt. Then the Six-Day War occurred.
In its aftermath, the controversial Resolution 242 tried to create peace in the Middle East. It was unanimously accepted and established the concept that land could be swapped for peace, leading to successful peace negotiations with Egypt and Jordan. Since then, however, the UN has become increasingly anti-Israel. The Communist-Arab voting bloc pushed for many anti-Israel and anti-semitic rulings and votes throughout the second half of the 20th century.
            In 2006, former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan said, “Supporters of Israel feel that it is harshly judged by standards that are not applied to its enemies and too often this is true, particularly in some UN bodies.”
Since the turn of the of the 20th century, the UN has revealed its anti-Israel bias on a regular basis. In 2003, three emergency sessions were called to condemn Israel’s security fence. In September of the same year, the UN held the International Conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People. In 2004, a UN envoy to Iraq said that Israel is “the great poison in the region.” In 2005, a special committee on Palestinian rights urged members of the UN to boycott Israel. The UN has even approved of anti-Israel propaganda to be made using UN funding and on November 29, the UN holds a day of solidarity with the Palestinian people. UN hospitals and schools have been used by Hamas to attack Israel, as well.

            Although the United Nations was originally created to keep the world safe and began as a very neutral and fair organization, it has taken a massive turn. Now, it mainly functions as a platform for hating Israel and spreading the message of the Palestinians. The UN opposes settlements, the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights and many of Israel’s policies. The Israeli delegation fights hard to combat these allegations and attacks and does so with only a few consistent allies. Among those is the United States and it is crucial to Israel’s security that America continues to support Israel on the international stage. Without their backing in the security council, who knows how many more condemnations Israel will be forced to face.
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