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The Palais des Nations Disneyland By: David G. Littman
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, November 17, 2006

The following brief statement was delivered on November 15 by David G. Littman as representative of the nongovernmental organization World Union for Progressive Judaism, to the Third Special Session of the Human Rights Council. It was circulated with two written statements on Hamas: A/HRC/S-1/NGO/4 and E/CN.4/2006/NGO/239. The meeting at the Palais des Nations in Geneva was sponsored by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Arab League, and other states.

The 1st special session in July related to Gaza, the 2nd to Lebanon and the 3rd to Gaza again – all targeting Israel unilaterally. The Council’s one-sided resolution on the Beit Hanoun tragedy did not mention the rockets fired daily into Israel, one of which killed a woman that morning. Although the U.S. is not a member of the 47– nation Council, Ambassador Warren W. Tichenor asked in his statement, as an ‘observer’: “Why is the Council loath to address important human rights situations elsewhere.” All European  members and Canada voted against, except France and Switzerland who abstained; the usual automatic majority was: 32 voting ‘yes’, 8 no’, 6 abstentions. Speakers are not supposed to raise other country situations during a special session on one issue.


Mr. President, on behalf of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, we wish to express our despair, which we feel sure is shared by a majority of representatives, after yesterday’s bloody round of Mesopotamian monstrosities that should be the subject of a special session here; and another tragedy of killing fields about which the High Commissioner gave a recent warning: “Action must be taken now to stop the killings and displacements.” [in Darfur]. We would be remiss not to recall once again the warning by 43 NGOs in their urgent appeal to the High Commissioner last May: “We believe that the role of the new Human Rights Council will be, in part, tested by the way the Darfur conflict is faced.” [E/CN.4/2006/NGO/3: Urgent Appeal to stop crimes in Darfur by using Genocide Convention]


Sir, in order to understand the events in Gaza, there is an urgent need to consider the implications of the Hamas Charter, especially its article 13, which reads: “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.(...) There is no solution to the Palestinian question except by Jihad. All initiatives, proposals, and International Conferences are a waste of time and vain endeavours.”  Our written statement for the 1st Special Session of the Council (A/HRC/S-1/NGO/4: ‘The Binding Charter of the Current Government of the Palestinian Authority / Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas’) is available as is another for the last Commission (E/CN.4/2006/NGO/239: The 1988 Covenant of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement – Hamas).    


The Charter quotes Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood – of which the Hamas is a wing, according to its article 2 – as having said: “Israel will exist and continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”


Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar confirmed this in an interview published two days ago by the leading Arabic International Daily, Asharq alawsat  (13 November 2006, by Sawsan Abu-Husain in Cairo), when he stated that the 1967 UN Security Resolution 242 is unacceptable for Hamas – and any Partition Plan of Palestine too. He also declared: “We do not accept anything that recognizes Israel And he concluded: “The Koran talks about the end of the state of Israel. Only God knows the unknown.”


Article 3 (c) of the 1948 Genocide Convention states: “Direct and public incitement to commit genocide”…“shall be punished” (article 4); and Chapter I, article 2 of the UN Charter, under Principle 4: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State or in any manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.


Sir, last week, I visited Neuschwanstein and Lindenhof – both castles built by “mad” Prince Ludwig II of Bavaria, who died 120 years ago. He idolized Louis XIV (le roi soleil), even building a modest Versailles ‘galerie des glaces’, always regretting that he was unable to adopt the French monarch’s motto: “L’Etat c’est moi.”


It was customary for the Commission on Human Rights to imagine that “les Droits de l’homme, c’est nous.” Ludwig II left behind him a fairy-tale, Disneyland atmosphere that attracts hoards of tourists. One can already foresee a future in which tourists will flock here to see how madness wrecked any hope of consensus on human rights, as the Council out-commissioned the Commission – here at this Altschwanstein–Palais des Nations.


Thank you, Mr. President


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