Israel and UN Resolutions

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The Bush administration is asking both sides in the Israel-Palestine standoff to “bend”. It seems like the administration is whispering its advice rather than pushing hard, but the tone is right.
But in a comment today, Tony Snow said that he thought that the UN should not issue a resolution condemning Israel’s incursion into Gaza.
Whether the UN should or should not do this is a point I don’t care to debate.
However, I will recount elements of a conversation in which I recently participated. I have to protect the people involved — but suffice it to say that there was a significant diplomatic presence at a small luncheon and most of the diplomats were involved deeply in UN affairs. The guests were from a disparate group of think tanks, as well as representatives from the Congress and the administration.
One of the U.S. government officials present advised the ranking diplomat at the lunch that if there was a strong desire to get the United States in as a member of the Human Rights Council next year, it would “help” if the Council did not disproportionately focus on Israel as compared to other nations where there are far more significant and important human rights abuses underway. In other words, the U.S. official was saying that life would be easier for America and for U.S. participation in the Human Rights Council if other allies could help take some of the heat off of Israel.
Frankly, I don’t think that this was such bad advice. There are many human rights abusers in the world that deserve far more attention than Israel, but that said, Israel does deserve the scrutiny of the world for the way it has treated Palestinians during the Occupation. To be fair, I found it fascinating to learn recently — and quite heartening in fact — to learn that Palestinians can sue for all sorts of causes in the Israeli Supreme Court and often win their cases. That shows a positive side of Israeli justice that few see, but there is also a harsh and often radicalizing side to Israeli interaction with the Palestinians that is just as often the reality.
But what the U.S. official needs to understand is that America’s zealous protection of Israeli interests in the United Nations is not being helped by Israel itself. Tony Snow stated today that the White House is “encouraged” by Israel’s decision to hold back a full scale invasion of Northern Gaza. Frankly, the White House should be miffed that Israel has gone to the lengths it has to disrupt the quality of life of tens of thousands of Palestinians in their pursuit of their kidnapped soldier.
The Israeli response in attempting to secure Gilad Shalit has done several things. It has increased the fear among average, innocent Palestinians of Israel and that they will be potentially killed or have their lives disrupted because of such incidents as the kidnapping. This is probably a lesson Israel wanted to teach. But it also increases support and empathy for those fighting Israel — and further alienates average Palestinians from Israeli communications and objectives. It seems obvious to me that such behavior from Israel is exactly what the most militant factions of Hamas and Islamic Jihad wanted to have happen. Their stock rises when Israel is provoked to fury — and the innocent middle that Israel needs to somehow reach is crushed.
I realize that this situation is murky. So many have said that the Palestinians have brought this on themselves. There is a silent majority in Palestine that was tired of the corruption of their former government — a corruption that included many senior members of the Israeli elite. They also yearn for self-determination and an end to Israel’s occupation of their homeland.
Israel has gotten very close to working out these problems in the past — with Rabin in particular. My hunch is that if Ariel Sharon had remained healthy, he might have eventually been pushed towards a negotiated endgame to his unilateral withdrawal plan — but my view is only speculative and based on some background conversations that are not definitive.
But there is an opportunity to take unstable situations where there is high drama and to pull off a grand, pragmatic bargain. Olmert and Peretz need to get on more strategically adept ground and turn this mess into an opportunity.
The status quo can’t stand.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

28 comments on “Israel and UN Resolutions

  1. Finest says:

    P.S. The Catholics have the Vatican and Ireland, the Church of England is eponymous, buddhists have Tibet or did, and we here in the US of A have the church of Pelosi, where anyone can be a minority leader, and stay that way.

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  2. Finest says:

    Bye the bye, Carroll made my point, in a big way. The landowning prosperous middle class have to STAY. If all the backbone in the Palestinian body politic leaves it ends up like Cuba. Castro killed off any Cubanos with any courage and the gutless fled to Miami and call him names. Freedom comes when you stand your ground.

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  3. Pissed Off American says:

    “Sure. Saudi Arabia…for Muslims. Iran…for Muslims. In fact, the entire penninsula is pretty much just for Muslims.”
    Yeah. Kinda odd that these fuckin’ maniacs in the White House attacked the only truly secular nation in the region, eh?

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  4. Peter Schwartz says:

    “Honest question for alec: What religious group, other than the Jews, have their own country? Inform me.
    Posted by karenk at July 2, 2006 05:03 PM”
    Sure. Saudi Arabia…for Muslims. Iran…for Muslims. In fact, the entire penninsula is pretty much just for Muslims.
    But the real point is this, Jews are not merely a “religious group,” they are a people, an ethnic group, with a right to self-determination. There are many non-religious Jews.

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  5. alec says:

    hey pissed off one:
    “But hey, exageration (lying) got you folks where you are today, so why stop now?”
    you folks?!?!?
    i guess you’re going to tell me who i am now?! get a grip!
    karen:
    i won’t dignify your stupid question with an answer. do some research and answer your own question, genius

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  6. Pissed Off American says:

    try an overloaded server, pissed off one.
    you’ve only posted their url 50 times in the last 2 days.
    Posted by alec
    Actually, I have only posted it twice. But hey, exageration (lying) got you folks where you are today, so why stop now?

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  7. karenk says:

    Honest question for alec: What religious group, other than the Jews, have their own country? Inform me.

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  8. alec says:

    mosaad goons?!?!? sheesh!
    try an overloaded server, pissed off one.
    you’ve only posted their url 50 times in the last 2 days.

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  9. Pissed Off American says:

    BTW, for about the umpteenth millionth time, when the blogosphere is hotly debating Israels actions, the website http://www.ifamericansknew.org/ has been taken down. But of course the mossad goons had nothing to do with it, right?

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  10. Pissed Off American says:

    Hmmm, how far would 48 million go to restore the lives of the citizens of New Orleans??? Why must WE pay for Israel’s crimes? (Gee, I wonder who will actually get paid to rebuild it??? One of Bush or Cheney’s asslicking buddies?)
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/733394.html
    U.S. to pay $48 million to cover damages to Gaza power station
    By Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service
    United States officials said they expect that U.S. funds will be used to pay for the damages caused by an Israel Air Force strike Tuesday on a Palestinian power station in the Gaza Strip. The power station was insured by a U.S. government agency, according to The Boston Globe.
    The Foreign and Defense Ministry departments that oversee foreign relations were unaware of the decision to target civilian facilities in the Strip, or the decision to attack the power station. Because of this, officials did not know that the station was insured by a U.S. government agency. Israel did not inform the U.S. prior to attacking the power station.
    ……………..continues….”

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  11. alec says:

    wow, steve. you’ve really engendered an informed debate here (read that with sarcasm). it’s alarming to read some of these posts. the ignorance, misinformation and anti-israel bias is staggering, but i’m hardly surprised. it is precisely because of this bias and *hatred* — let’s be honest here– that israel must continue to exist. without it the jews of the world have no safe harbor.

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  12. karenk says:

    Steve you’re a glutton for punishment bringing this topic up again!
    I have a friend who jokes that we should give the Israeli’s Kansas and get them out of the ME!
    I say how about one of the poorer states, say Arkansas?? They’ll make it the richest in no time.
    And I loved Carrolls statement about divorce court.. your best bet-stay single!

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  13. Mona says:

    Your article was thank God, honest and I thank all the people who posted the above comments in favour of Palestinian People.
    Israel is out of control!! It has been for a long time on the edge but now is totally out of control. Israelis live in a constant state of “State Government induced fear that tells them that they are victims. At the same time it is because they are human beings that are mentally superior to other inhabitants on this earth.” I know because I was born there.
    There is much we have yet to be told:
    who is holding this soldier? no group has openly on TV claimed responsibility (as is usual in such an attack.
    How does one build a tunnel in sand?
    Why was the tank in which this Soldier was a gunner not left at the scene although the bodies of the dead soldiers were?
    Why n pictures of this soldier in captivity?
    Finally, this soldier is a member of the idf and as such is at war with Palestine although it is an occupied territory. He is not kidnpped – he is a POW.
    There are 100’s of thousands of Palestinian men, women and children in Israeli jails, who are tortured and humiliated in the most hideous ways every day.
    Since 1948 when the Israeli’s got their country ethnically cleansed it, seized all Palestinian bank accounts and tried to erase all signs of the Palestinians the world has given them a free pass and they are in contempt of hundreds of UN resolutions.
    My suggestion: Hold a debate in the UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY, HOLD VOTE ON WHETHER ISRAEL SHOULD BE HANDED BACK TO PALESTINIANS. MOST ISRAELIS HAVE TWO COUNTRIES – PALESTINIANS HAVE NONE.
    IT IS EASIER TO RIGHT A WRONG COMMITTED 60 YEARS AGO THAN TO CARRY ON ALLOWING THESE PEOPLE TO RUN OUT OF CONTROL – THE WHOLE WORLD IS WEIGHED DOWN BY THIS COUNTRY – NONE LESS THAN THE SURROUNDING COUNTRIES ALL OF WHICH HAVE BEEN INVADED BY ISRAEL.THE WORLD CAN NO LONGER AFFORD THIS COUNTRY OFISRAEL MORALLY OR FINANCIALLY, OR WITH THE LOSS OF LIFE IT CAUSES.

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  14. Carroll says:

    Well, I never should have been googling Israel/Pal..cause now my blood is really boiling over something I had never seen before…and I am going to go totally ballistic ….doctors at the Israeli hospital who held a Mother’s baby because they couldn’t pay their hospital bill…and Israeli hospitals who turn away women about to give birth because they have no money…
    You know, as a woman my hormones make me about a million times more dangerous than the most talented killer when it comes to my offspring. I will admit flat out if that had been me and my child I would have blown the animals at that hospital to hell first opportunity I got. In fact I now don’t understand why more women in Palestine aren’t bombers…the only reason I can think of is they place the care of their children above avenging everyhing that has been done to them.
    I believe this ends the moral equivlance arguement about bombers blowing up pizza parlors vrs IDF snipers shooting children in the head and holding babies for ransom and who is civilized and who are the animals. I put the Palestine who blows up Israelis in passion and revenge for occupation of his country and destruction of his property as head and shoulders morally superior to filthy greedy racist pigs who hold a Mother’s new born baby hostage for payment.
    I don’t think I can discuss Israel reasonably again in political terms because some things supercede “politics” and this is one of them…any country who harbors people and institutions for whom holding babies and keeping newborns from their mothers because they can’t pay their hospital bill is “Normal Procedure” needs to put on the world terrorist list with the rest of the terrorist.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4816152.stm
    Normal procedure’
    Because the children’s father was a Palestinian resident of the West Bank, the hospital demanded payment of the bill as it was not certain of recovering the costs from the National Insurance Institute (NII), it is alleged.
    When the woman said she was unable to pay, the hospital released only two of the babies, keeping the third as a “guarantee”, newspaper reports said.
    The mother left with just two babies and last week approached the justice ministry.
    “We looked into the matter with the hospital,” the ministry’s head of legal aid, Eyal Globus, told Haaretz newspaper.
    “And it turned out that things were exactly as the mother said they were – the third baby was being held there.”
    Mr Globus was told by the hospital director that this was the normal procedure for ensuring payment.
    The ministry ordered the release of the child and said it would ensure the insurance fund reimbursed the hospital, newspaper reports said.
    The woman’s family told Haaretz that two other Israeli hospitals had turned her away because she could not pay a deposit of $72,500 (£40,000) before being admitted.

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  15. Carroll says:

    Mangels…I tend to agree with you. I have watched this thing for years and what stands out most and made me a critic is the repeated Israeli tactic of provocation. Provoke, attack, excuse, steal a bit more land and lie about it, over and over and over. After a while you despise Israel just because they think the world is too stupid to see their game. I cannot think of a single instance in the past decade(s) when Israel has ever admitted to or owned up to one of their obvious criminal actions.
    They are like a broken record, playing over and over and over and over and over and over and over…..

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  16. mangels says:

    Steve,
    Israel has rained down on Gazans over 10,000 artillary shells since March 23, 2006, when the seige began. For anyone to suggest that the Palestinians provoked the Israelis into this offensive is not seeing the whole picture.
    The bottom line is that the current power elites in Israel nor the pro-Israel lobbies in US want peace with Palestinians. If one noticed, everytime Fatah and Hamas were about to meet Israels demand for recognition Israel has turned the screws on Palestinians to provoke internal strife and backlash….a backlash Israel has taken full advantage of.
    Also, reading Israel’s intention through Israel leaders and diplomats is, at best, a fools game or rather a game of deception. Israel policy has nearly always beeb decided by Israeli defense and intelligence organizations. When it comes to Israel…action does speak louder than words.

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  17. Carroll says:

    Actually Finest…I was under the impression that a good portion of the Palestines were a fairly well educated group…at least that is what I have read in the European papers on the subject…
    As a matter of fact I am tutoring the wives of two Palestine Arabs, investors in a business here recently..both have college degrees but are taking economics courses here and just need help with some English business terms in their studies.
    I think the land owning and businessmen and educated of Palestine have been able to get out to other countries, not all chose to, of course, but I am sure many like the ones I know have…the less fortunate remain…and are being made more unfortunate every day.
    It’s a little hard to remain a businessman or continue your education if you under occupation and another country has been, is still stealing your resources every day. You tend to worry more about staying alive and feeding yourself.

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  18. Davei says:

    Steve, Well said.

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  19. Finest says:

    The impression given by EVERY pundit, critic and observer of the Holy Land scene is that the average IQ of the average Joe Six Pack Palestinian is about 40. So why blame them? Rule of law? There just little kids. Nothing they do is important so everything that happens they’re held blameless.
    Without the rise (and domination) of a land owning Palestinian middle class determined to give a legitimate and law-abiding face to the world, this overview will persist, and will continue to give news services like the New York Times reason to dismiss them.

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  20. Carroll says:

    Steve…when you have time tell us more what you see as the right kind of heat to put on Israel..and Hamas…
    I can’t think of any heat that hasn’t been put on Hamas except dropping a nuke on Palestine…and can’t think of any heat from the US ever being applied (successfully) on Israel..

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  21. Pissed Off American says:

    I find it interesting that we can discuss the current crisis without mention of the recent incident on the beach. Or are us “jew baiters” and “anti-semitics” supposed to ignore such events?
    It is my understanding, from the news, that Shalid is still alive. Good thing he’s a soldier, for it is dangerous business being a beachgoer.

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  22. profmarcus says:

    and now we have this…
    —————
    Israel last night threatened to assassinate Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh if Hamas militants did not release a captured Israeli soldier unharmed.
    The unprecedented warning was delivered to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a letter as Israel debated a deal offered by Hamas to free Corporal Gilad Shalit.
    […]
    Hamas’s Gaza-based political leaders, including Mr Haniyeh, had already gone into hiding.
    But last night’s direct threat to kill Mr Haniyeh, a democratically elected head of state, sharply raised the stakes.
    —————
    http://takeitpersonally.blogspot.com/

    Reply

  23. Dan Kervick says:

    “”Frankly, the White House should be miffed that Israel has gone to the lengths it has to disrupt the quality of life of tens of thousands of Palestinians in their pursuit of their kidnapped soldier.””
    You don’t honestly think this is all an attempt to retrieve Gilad Shalit, do you?

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  24. Steve Clemons says:

    karmapol — i think my writing clearly demonstrates i’m not an apologist for either side. thanks for your post though,
    steve clemons

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  25. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks for the note Carroll. The right strategy in my view is to get the right kind of heat on Israel and also on Hamas. There is a lot of the wrong kind of heat putting pressure out there — and it’s pushing both sides towards more radical positions than problem-solving stances. The interesting thing is that as I hear from sources in Israel and in Ramallah, the overwhelming majorities on both sides STILL prefer some kind of negotiated dealing on final status issues… We need heat to move all sides that direction. Thanks for your concern about divorce court. 😉
    Steve Clemons

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  26. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks for the note Carroll. The right strategy in my view is to get the right kind of heat on Israel and also on Hamas. There is a lot of the wrong kind of heat putting pressure out there — and it’s pushing both sides towards more radical positions than problem-solving stances. The interesting thing is that as I hear from sources in Israel and in Ramallah, the overwhelming majorities on both sides STILL prefer some kind of negotiated dealing on final status issues… We need heat to move all sides that direction. Thanks for your concern about divorce court. 😉
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  27. karmapol says:

    With all due respect, according to Ha’aretz, the Israeli government knew that Palestinian resistence fighters (and I refuse to call them anything else) were trying to build a tunnel and kidnap an Israeli soldier. Israel didn’t attempt to stop this action despite being capable of identifying and targeting a car carrying a resistance fighter with a missile within minutes of that fighter entering it.
    Israel has surveillance and knows how to use it.
    Ha’aretz and other Israeli papers also reported that Israel had decided to arrest Hamas leaders just after Hamas was elected to lead the Palestinian government.
    Hamas had tacitly accepted Israel last week.
    So which side wanted war? Israel.
    Stop being an apologist for Israel. It’s not only more than a million Palestinian lives at stake, it’s also ours as the rest of the world unites against USRael.

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  28. Carroll says:

    Well….frankly I don’t agree with the part below…and you are way too reasonable Steve, I hope you never end up in divorce court, you’d be plucked clean…
    ” it would “help” if the Council did not disproportionately focus on Israel as compared to other nations where there are far more significant and important human rights abuses underway. In other words, the U.S. official was saying that life would be easier for America and for American participation in the Human Rights Council if other allies could help take some of the heat off of Israel.”
    Taking the heat off Israel is the last thing that needs to happen…. the ‘appeasement” of Israel and US zionist by the US is a major part of why we are in the condition we are today in the ME. Israel needs the stick, as in a 2X4 up beside the head, not more carrots.
    However I do agree that the sole thing in Israel’s favor is their Supreme Court..those of us who have paid attention have seen that is one of the few bastions or really the only bastion of honest Justice and law in Israel.
    But it doesn’t make up for their overall actions.
    And I want Israel and everything associated with Israel out of the US and don’t want to see the US further catering to Israel..and I have so advised my repub and demo representives…and I have donated already to those like dem Betty McCollum who told AIPAC to kiss off, and my own repub congressman Jones who is still calling for Feith, Perle, Wolfie and the rest of the neos and zionistas to be brought before congress and explain their little intelligence club.
    I will not vote for, donate to, work for, (in fact I am already working ‘against”) anyone at any level of either party who “supports” (read whores for) Israel..that’s my line in the sand…..small start toward cleaning house but I think others voters are joining me in this..at least that’s what I hear on the grassroots grapevine out here in the sticks…..

    Reply

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