The United Nations has been working especially hard in recent days to bail out the Hamas terrorists from the prospect of a devastating defeat at the hands of Israel.
Hamas caused the present conflict by its unprovoked firing of hundreds of rockets deeper into Israel, targeting Israeli civilians for death and terrorizing its women and children. Hamas, not Israel, unilaterally decided against extending the six month ceasefire that had expired in mid-December 2008, which Hamas had been violating anyway. After clear warnings to stop the rocket fire which went unheeded by Hamas, Israel responded with military force in self-defense pursuant to Section 51 of the UN Charter.
Nevertheless, under pressure from the Arab bloc, the UN Security Council adopted a contemptible resolution on January 8, 2009, which calls for an “immediate” ceasefire, “leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza”. Hamas’s provocation for the Israeli military action is not mentioned even once. There is not a word stating that the rocket attacks on the Israeli civilian population must stop completely as a condition for such withdrawal of Israeli forces. Indeed, the resolution places no onus on Hamas at all for the present situation, much less imposing any obligations on the mini-terrorist state it is running in Gaza. Although Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and would never have tolerated a Hamas-led government if it had stayed instead, the UN resolution is based on the premise that Israel still effectively controls Gaza and thus is fully responsible for the welfare of the Palestinian civilian population living under Hamas rule. This is truly a heads-Hamas-wins, tails-Israel-loses setup.
Shamefully, the United States decided to abstain, rather than use its veto power to block this one-sided, anti-Israel Security Council resolution.
The resolution emphasizes “the need to ensure sustained and regular flow of goods and people through the Gaza crossings.” While calling on member states to “intensify efforts” to prevent “illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition”, nothing is said about destroying the remaining tunnels built by Hamas or removing the rocket parts and other arms from the terrorists’ hands that have already been smuggled into Gaza. There is no provision for an effective international monitoring force to stop any further smuggling.
The resolution “condemns all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism”. Since Israel is singled out elsewhere in the resolution for its military presence in Gaza and the rocket attacks on Israeli civilians are not mentioned at all, the spin artists accusing Israel of ‘crimes against humanity’ will have a field day. They will interpret the resolution as condemning only Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians and equating Israel’s acts of self-defense with ‘state terrorism’. No accountability for using Palestinian women and children as human shields – a deliberate tactic of Islamic terrorists – is laid at Hamas’s doorstep. Since Hamas is not mentioned even once in the resolution, the Islamic propagandists will surely argue that neither Hamas’s assaults on Israeli civilians, or Hamas’s deliberate use of civilians as human shields, were intended to be included within the definition of acts of terrorism. This fits into the Islamic fictional narrative that Hamas militants and other Islamic terrorists are not really terrorists at all – they are legitimate resistance fighters.
The resolution recognizes “the vital role played by UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] in providing humanitarian and economic assistance within Gaza.” It actually asks for additional contributions to UNRWA.
UNRWA runs the Palestinian refugee camps and UN schools in Gaza. Two schools reportedly came under fire during the present conflict by Israeli forces in response to mortar shells being fired from the schools’ vicinity by Hamas militants whom Palestinian residents were said to have observed in the area. Nevertheless, Israel has received all of the blame for the ensuing civilian casualties caused by Hamas’s deliberate use of Palestinian women and children as human shields.
UNRWA itself is not an innocent bystander. In the past UNRWA has allowed the Palestinian refugee camps that it was administering to be used as bases for small-arms factories, explosives laboratories, and arms caches. It has also allowed UN vehicles to be used to transport arms, explosives, and terrorists to their target locations. Terrorist organizations have been found to actively use UNRWA offices and schools to conduct their terrorist activities.
Indeed, in November 2007, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke out against a rocket attack aimed at Israel that was launched from a school in the Gaza Strip run by the United Nations agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees. According to a UN News Centre report at the time, “Palestinian militants entered the school while it was empty and then fired rockets from the compound.”
History is repeating itself. Hamas has followed its customary modus operandi during this conflict, using UN schools as safe houses from which to launch some of its attacks, while UNRWA officials tacitly approved or looked the other way. The UN has responded in a Pavlovian fashion to Israel’s military retaliation, ignoring its own findings from a little over a year ago concerning the militants’ use of a UN school as a place from which to fire rockets. Instead, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanethem Pillay and other UN officials have rushed in to blame Israel for the civilian casualties at the UN schools and everywhere else in Gaza, allowing Hamas to reap a propaganda windfall from the images of dead and wounded Palestinian civilians whom it had put in harm’s way in the first place.
To be fair, Pillay did say in her statement to the ninth special session of the Human Rights Council (another in a string of Human Rights Council sessions devoted exclusively to condemning Israel) that harm to civilians caused by rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel is “unacceptable”. She also said that “action on the part of Israel’s opponents that may deliberately put civilians at risk in the Gaza Strip is prohibited under international law” (emphasis added).
Although her use of the term “opponents” rather than something like “mortal enemies sworn to Israel’s destruction” sounds more like she is refereeing at a tennis match, Pillay is at least showing some signs of recognizing the reality that Israel has been facing. She is in a distinct minority at the UN in even being willing to go that far. Other UN officials, such as Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967, are so blinded by their hatred of Israel that they have used the blood libel of comparing the Jewish state to the Nazis and to apartheid South Africa.
However, Pillay is wrong in claiming that “while indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel are unlawful, Israel’s responsibility to fulfill its international obligations is completely independent from the compliance of Hamas with its own obligations under international law”.
To the contrary, they are causally linked. Israel is acting in self-defense against Hamas’s relentless attacks on defenseless Israeli civilians. Moreover, Hamas – not Israel – has violated the Geneva Convention and the basic laws of war by deliberately targeting innocent civilians, impersonating civilians or police, hiding among the civilian population, and using mosques and schools as terrorist sanctuaries.
In short, Hamas alone bears responsibility for its civilian population as the governing authority in Gaza. Hamas is the aggressor against Israeli civilians and is using its rule of Gaza to treat its own civilians as human shields. Israel, on the other hand, has bent over backwards to minimize civilian casualties.
Israel has repeatedly sought genuine peace, but not at the expense of the safety of its own citizens. To Hamas, truces are just stalling tactics to use as lulls during which the terrorists build up their military capability. When asked if he could envision a 50-year hudna (cease-fire) with Israel, Hamas leader Nizar Rayyan (who was finally killed in a recent Israeli bombing attack) responded, "The only reason to have a hudna is to prepare yourself for the final battle. We don't need 50 years to prepare ourselves for the final battle with Israel. Israel is an impossibility. It is an offense against God."
Sadly, but not surprisingly, the United Nations has become an enabler of Hamas’s campaign of deceit and of its crimes against humanity. The UN has turned into an instrument for legitimizing the enemies of peace and freedom.