Missiles? What missiles? Israel and the UN Human Rights Council

  • Date / 12 August 2006

The UN Human Rights Council met in emergency session on 11th August to consider a resolution sponsored by members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the Arab League condemning Israel for the illegal bombing of innocent civilians in Lebanon.

There had been virtually no opportunity to negotiate the content of the resolution before its adoption. The resolution, which dealt only with Israeli aggression against Lebanon failed to mention Hezbollah or the rocket attacks on Israel. Peter Splinter, Amnesty International representative at the Human Rights Council, quoted in a press release, said: “It is deeply regrettable that the resolution failed to meet the principles of impartiality and objectivity expected of the Human Rights Council”

We are all appalled by the loss of innocent life. The people of Southern Lebanon live lives of double jeopardy. While the forces of Hezbollah have been able to construct deep shelters for themselves, the civilian population of Southern Lebanon have no such luxury, yet Hezbollah have launched missiles from residential areas including hospital grounds in a cynical attempt to increase civilian suffering from any retaliatory strikes, ratcheting up yet again hatred of Israel in the Muslim world.

By its failure in this resolution even to mention the hundreds of missiles launched indiscriminately against Israel by Hezbollah (the Army of Allah) the Human Rights Council has demonstrated exactly the selectivity and bias for which the old Human Rights Commission was condemned, and has justified the cynicism with which many Western observers greeted the creation of the Council.

During the debate, not one member state mentioned the avowed aim of Hezbollah and its sponsor, the Islamic Republic of Iran, to wipe Israel from the map. It was left to an NGO to remind the Human Rights Council of Hezbollah’s objectives, quoting Hassan Nasrallah, its Secretary General:

– “There is no solution to the conflict in this region except with the disappearance of Israel.”
– “Peace settlements will not change reality, which is that Israel is the enemy and that it will never be a neighbor or a nation.”
– “And on this last day of the century,[1999] I promise Israel that it will see more suicide attacks, for we will write our history with blood.
– “I am against any reconciliation with Israel. I do not even recognize the presence of a state that is called “Israel.” I consider its presence both unjust and unlawful.”
– “The Jews invented the legend of the Nazi atrocities…Anyone who reads the Koran and the holy writings of the monotheistic religions sees what they did to the prophets, and what acts of madness and slaughter the Jews carried out throughout history… Anyone who reads these texts cannot think of co-existence with them, of peace with them, or about accepting their presence, not only in Palestine of 1948 but even in a small village in Palestine, because they are a cancer which is liable to spread again at any moment.”
– “If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew
– “If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”

The statements by Nasrullah echo those made by the President of Iran on 26 October 2005, when he demanded that Israel be “wiped off the map,” adding that “very soon, the stain of this disgrace [Israel] will be purged from the centre of the Islamic world.” He menaced all peacemakers: “Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury.” At the Islamic Summit in Mecca on 7-8 December 2005, President Ahmadinejad described how “the Islamic world faces many serious problems and challenges,” but the major problem was “the presence of the Zionist occupation in the heart of the Islamic region.” Its “judicious removal“, he predicted, “will pave the way to the appearance of Islam’s power in the successful management of global [matters].”

It is common knowledge that the Islamic Republic of Iran supports this terrorist group financially and its sponsors have, in Narsrullah’s own words, provided Hezbollah with more that 12,000 rockets.

Whatever the rights and wrongs surrounding the creation of the State of Israel, surely the time has come for the Islamic world to recognize its right to exist. Of the original League of Nations mandate given to Britain, 78% of the territory was allocated to what is now Jordan (of which 2/3 of the population are Palestinian), 6% to the West Bank and Gaza and 16% to Israel. Some 600,000 Palestinians were dispossessed following the creation of Israel but little mention is made of the 900,000 Jews forced to leave the Arab states since then, many of whom have settled in Israel.

The radical Islamists who increasingly set the agenda in the Islamic world justify their claim to the territory of Israel on the grounds that it was, like a large part of Spain and Eastern Europe, once part of the Dar el Islam and must become so again. By this logic the United States should be returned to Native Americans and the Anglo-Saxons and Norman French expelled from Britain. The existence of Israel, like that of the United States, Britain and virtually every other modern state is a fait-accompli.

There are reportedly some 15 million Jews in the World and 1,200 million Muslims. The area occupied by the State of Israel, 8,000 sq miles, is less than 1% of the land area of Saudi Arabia. The Islamic world, with its untold oil wealth could, had it wished, easily have resettled the Palestinians dispossessed by Israel and provided them with homes, jobs and security.

The Israelis, Jews and Arabs alike, surely have the right to live in peace and security. It is the tragedy of our times that the Islamic world will not permit them to do so.

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