Daily Israel Report
Show More

OpEds


Ban Ki-Moon: All Hail the Arab Spring

UN Sec.-Gen. in Israel, says turmoil is "inevitable evolution of history" and should be welcomed.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/2/2012, 9:33 PM

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called upon Israelis to be happy about the Islamist rebellion tearing through the Middle East, which Israelis have renamed the "Arab Winter" as the Muslim Brotherhood gains in strength.

Speaking at the Herzliya Conference Thursday, Ban said: 

"The storms of the Arab Spring are indeed sweeping the region. Change keeps coming, with blinding and often bewildering speed. Some in Israel and elsewhere view these events with concern. One year later, they say that the Arab Spring has failed; that these dramatic transformations have moved the Middle East backward, not forward.

"Others fear new governments will emerge that are unfriendly to Israel. Understandably, they point to the conflict in Syria, to the emergence of Islamist oriented leadership in some governments; to practical issues concerning Iran. Yet to speak frankly among good friends, I have to say that it pains me to hear such complaints. 

"I am Secretary General of the United Nations, an organization dedicated to promoting democracy, human rights and the worth of the individuals. These principles are deeply embedded in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

"It is hard not to view the dramatic events of the past year as a fulfillment of our most noble aspirations. Cast your eye on this new landscape so profoundly different from a year ago. We see a newly democratizing Egypt and Tunisia; a new Libya rebuilding itself on basic principles of democracy and the rule of law. Everywhere people are experiencing a fundamental human yearning; a universal hunger for freedom, dignity, and human rights. 

"Young people have been in the vanguard, as have women – standing for their rights against those who would deny them… We should welcome this inevitable evolution of history. We should not perpetuate the fallacy that the Arab world is somehow not ready for democracy."

Egypt degenerated into chaos this week, as at least 40 people were killed in riots following a soccer match and another field was burned by fans angry about the cancellation of a match.