Louise Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, will be presiding over Durban II - the UN's 2009 follow-up to its controversial 2001 ‘anti-racism’ hatefest in Durban, South Africa.
While Canada, her home country, announced that it will not attend the Durban II Conference "circus of intolerance," as Canada’s Secretary of State for Multiculturalism so aptly described it, Ms. Arbour will be the Secretary-General of this circus.
Arbour showed her true colors a couple of weeks ago when she went out of her way to endorse a new pan-Arab human rights charter that includes a commitment to eliminate Zionism, which it explicitly equates with racism. In the preamble to the Arab charter that she sought fit to unabashedly praise, the charter speaks of "rejecting all forms of racism and Zionism," while Article 2 says that "racism, Zionism and foreign occupation and domination" should be "condemned and efforts must be deployed for their elimination."
Apparently Arbour forgot that even the UN General Assembly had voted to repeal its infamous 1975 ‘Zionism equals racism’ resolution. Only after UN Watch asked her office for a clarification of her original remarks that had omitted any reference to this repeal did Arbour backtrack somewhat in a follow-up statement that she issued on January 30th. However, she has not followed her Canadian countrymen’s example by withdrawing from her leadership of Durban II, where the ‘Zionism equals racism’ theme is certain to be front and center.
Anyone who has observed Arbour over the years should not be surprised by her pro-Islamist sympathies. For example, she is on record as saying back in 2006 that the Palestinian terrorists’ rocket attacks aimed specifically at killing civilians in Israel are far less of a human rights concern than Israel’s retaliatory military strikes in which some civilians are accidental casualties. She pronounced Israel guilty of "massive" human rights abuses. She said that “It is a small distinction as to whether you desire the result, or you foresee it as virtually certain and you do not care."
Of course, the Israelis do care very much about civilian casualties and do whatever they can to minimize them. No matter how much restraint Israel shows in the face of unremitting attacks aimed at murdering its civilians, Arbour gives no voice to this reality.
The fact is that Israel has forsworn the use of all-out military force such as carpet-bombing of the areas from which the rockets are being fired until all such attacks stop for good. Instead, when Israel has elected to use force, its military has for the most part aimed directly at the launchers themselves and at known terrorist leaders in pin-pointed strikes. The Palestinian terrorists in Gaza are the ones who have used civilian human shields to ward off such Israeli strikes, causing many of the civilian casualties among their own people that they blame on Israel.
It seems to makes no difference to Arbour how many Israeli children lose their lives or suffer severe trauma from the daily rockets raining down on their homes and schools. For her, Israel should simply stand by and do nothing because any actions Israel takes in return would constitute collective and disproportionate punishment.
The current blockade imposed by Israel is a case in point. Israel supplies all of Gaza's fuel and more than two-thirds of its electricity. Israel has cut supplies of fuel and electricity to the Gaza Strip in order to cut off the ability of the terrorists to launch their indiscriminate rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilians. Even so, reduced supplies are currently being allowed into Gaza to fulfill vital humanitarian needs.
No doubt Israel’s border crossing closures have resulted in pain and suffering to the Gaza residents, but far less so than a full-scale military operation against Hamas would cause. And it is entirely within Hamas’ control to relieve this pain and suffering of its own people. All they have to do is simply stop the rocket attacks and suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. Israel has said repeatedly that once the Palestinian militants stop their attacks against Israeli civilians in Israel, the economic sanctions and blockade will end.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert answered Israel’s critics by saying that "We will not allow under any condition, or any situation, creation of a humanitarian crisis. We will not hit food supplies for children or medicines for the needy.” But Olmert added, "Does anyone seriously think that our children will wet their beds at night in fear and be afraid to go out of the house and they (Gazans) will live in quiet normality?"
Nevertheless, human rights groups continue to put the onus on Israel for violating international law. For her part, Arbour tried to appear as even-handed as her pro-Islamist biases would let her by telling the United Nations Human Rights Council at a recent special session devoted to the Gaza crisis that “All parties concerned should put an end to the vicious spiral of violence before it becomes unstoppable.”
However, in the same address to the Council, she felt compelled to focus most of the blame for the crisis on Israel, accusing it of using collective punishment in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The Human Rights Council, dominated by Islamists and their sympathizers, just heard Arbour’s forceful denunciation of Israel. The Council predictably followed up with a completely one-sided resolution that condemned only the defensive measures that Israel has taken to close off the border between Israel and Gaza.
The resolution made no mention at all of the more than 4000 unprovoked rocket attacks launched from Gaza into Israeli civilian population centers since Israel handed Gaza over to the Palestinians and the Hamas terrorists have assumed total control. Indeed, it ignored what even Arbour had told the Council before it voted on the resolution – that from the beginning of this year through January 22, 2008, Palestinian militants had fired around 230 mortar shells and 110 rockets into the northern Negev including the cities of Sderot and Ashqelon.
The Human Rights Council’s text, which was introduced by Syria in the name of the League of Arab States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, called on Arbour to report to the Council at its next session on the progress made towards implementing its anti-Israel resolution. All she will focus on will be Israel’s reaction, not the underlying actions of the terrorists that caused the reaction in the first place.
The United States has been successful in blocking any similarly unbalanced resolution from being approved by the Security Council. An effort is reportedly underway by Hamas’s friends in the UN to consider calling a General Assembly Special Session or emergency special session to ratify the skullduggery of the Human Rights Council. It takes a mere majority of member states to call for such a session, which will be a cakewalk for the Islamists to assemble.
In any case, Hamas militants took matters into their own hands and broke open the blockade by blowing up the partition along Gaza's border with Egypt. The resulting ‘exodus’ of hundreds of thousands of Gaza residents from Gaza into Egypt enabled them to purchase huge supplies of food and fuel. Israel responded with remarkable restraint, considering the potential for militants to use this opportunity to bring back from Egypt more sophisticated weapons for use against Israeli civilians. It even committed to deliver thousands of vaccines to the Gaza Strip to combat any cattle and avian-borne diseases that may have been brought in through an influx of cows, sheep and chickens.
However, for Louise Arbour it is far easier to keep blaming Israel for the Palestinians’ self-inflicted plight. Thus, her only reaction to the terrorists’ blasting of the wall separating Gaza and Egypt was that it showed the "level of desperation" among the Palestinians that Israel had caused. Maybe it is time for Egypt’s leaders to step up and assume some responsibility for the Palestinians who have taken part in the ‘exodus’ to Egypt. They could give these Palestinians a real home in Egypt, rather than return them to their squalid living conditions as refugees in Gaza, which had been part of Egypt before the Six Day War in 1967. Indeed, before 1967, the Gazan Arabs did not regard themselves as Palestinians "occupied" by Egypt. Perhaps it is time that they are reconnected to their true homeland. On that point Arbour is silent.
Arbour did make some nice-sounding remarks last week on the occasion of the third International Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. She said that “we continue to be confronted with expressions and manifestations of anti-Semitism.” She added that “this day is a call on the world's conscience and a reminder of the acute necessity to confront intolerance, bigotry, prejudice, ignorance and hatred, early and unequivocally.”
How hollow these words truly are, however, when Arbour lends the prestige of her UN High Commissioner for Human Rights office to those who are intent on launching another holocaust against the Jews living in Israel today. Sadly, Louise Arbour’s idea of confronting “intolerance, bigotry, prejudice, ignorance and hatred, early and unequivocally” is to preside over a second United Nations conference in Durban that will raise hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism to an entirely new level.