Today is Tuesday, June 24, 2014. This is day twelve since the kidnapping of three Jewish boys.
The boys are still missing. Two are 16 years old. One is 19. We fear for their safety.
We unite. We come together as one nation in prayer. We call to G-d. We beseech Him. We ask for His mercy for these boys.
As we pray, the Arab rushes to the United Nations. He accuses Israel of committing a war crime: the Israel Defence Force (IDF), the Arab says, is inflicting a collective punishment upon the entire ‘Palestinian’ people.
This morning, we read that the UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs now uses language straight from the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention. Apparently, he takes his cue from Arabs who wish to destroy Israel. The Arab used this language yesterday to make the accusation.
Now, the UN Undersecretary uses the same words to accuse the victim of this incident. He warns Israel, “to exercise restraint and not to “punish Palestinians for offenses they have not personally committed” (emphasis mine) (“UN Fails to Agree on Condemnation of Israel”, Arutz Sheva, June 24, 2014). He hasn’t investigated the Arab accusation. He doesn’t know what’s true, what’s make-believe. But he willingly—and not so subtly--warns the Jewish state that it could be charged with war crimes.
He ignores the fact that Syrian barrel bombs represent the kind of activity that meets the definition of ‘collective punishment’, not IDF search actions in Arab communities. He ignores the fact that the IDF has not killed at will, the way Syrian barrel bombs have. He ignores the fact that IDF actions in this incident are far closer to an aggressive—but legal--criminal investigation than a war crime.
The UN Undersecretary ignores the fact that virtually all those arrested by the IDF have some connection to Hamas, militant Fatah and other virulent anti-Israel groups, any one of whom might have knowledge of this kidnapping. He ignores the fact that those connections make those arrests –and the IDF actions leading to those arrests--legitimate.
He ignores the fact that the IDF’s actions within Palestinian Authority communities have been specific and targeted, and have nothing in common with the type of random murder that is so characteristic of ‘collective punishment’—and barrel bombs.
The UN undersecretary ignores the fact that when the Boston police sealed neighbourhoods in their pursuit of the Boston bombers (following the bombings at the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon), no one cried, ‘collective punishment’.
But the Arab cries. He cries without regard to truth or fact. He cries because he knows that he can manipulate the UN to turn on Israel with no serious or objective investigation.
The UN has done just that. It wants to vote to condemn Israel. But the United States at the UN has objected. It says that condemning Israel would be a ‘red line’ for America.
That’s too bad—for America. The Member states of the UN know all about America’s ‘red lines’. They have seen them before, in Iran and Syria. No one at the UN seems particularly impressed with the US’s red lines.
The Times of Israel has reported that the UN failed to condemn Israel because of the US warning (“US prevents UN condemnation of Israel over West Bank deaths”, June 23, 2014). But that wasn’t true. The UN failure to condemn Israel wasn’t due to the US.
Perhaps the UN failed to condemn Israel because it isn’t ready to do so. Perhaps the UN knows that Israel isn’t guilty as charged. Perhaps the UN is not so keen any more to isolate and criminalize Israel, as some have claimed. Perhaps this failure of the UN to condemn Israel means there is still a shred of fairness at the UN.
Don’t bet on any of these possibilities. The UN’s current inability to condemn Israel wasn’t due to any pangs of conscience. It wasn’t due to any desire for fairness. It certainly wasn’t due to any fear of the United States.
Yes, there were some at the UN ready to stand up for Israel—and that US objection does count for something. But the truth is, the UN had the votes to condemn even with dissenters. The UN failed to condemn Israel mostly for one reason only: it couldn’t decide how harshly that condemnation should be. It couldn’t agree whether the use of the word, ‘deploring’ (as applied to IDF action) was strong enough.
No doubt, the UN will try again.
The G-d of Israel watches all of this. He watches the Arab. He watches the UN. He watches the US. He takes notes. He records names in His Book of Remembrance.
In what part of that Book do you want to find your name