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Thursday, November 27, 2003

Israel's first UN resolution . . . withdrawn

Resolution called for protection of Israeli children from terrorism
Reuters: After an uphill struggle, Israel withdrew a resolution on protecting Israeli children from terrorism, with its ambassador accusing the United Nations of hypocrisy, duplicity and double standards.

Ambassador Dan Gillerman said on Wednesday amendments from Egypt and others in a General Assembly committee amounted to a "hostile takeover" of his draft resolution, subverting its purpose, shifting its focus and erasing every reference to Israeli children.

"Today we put the United Nations to the ultimate moral test," Gillerman told a news conference. "It failed this litmus test miserably. This demonstrated just how far the hypocrisy, duplicity and double standard policy of the General Assembly and its committees go."

At issue was Israel's first introduction of a resolution since 1976, a draft condemning Palestinian suicide bombings against Israeli children. It was meant to mirror a resolution adopted last week by the panel 88-4 with 58 abstentions demanding protection for Palestinian children.

Amendments proposed collectively by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan and others would have substituted "Middle East" for "Israeli" children and inserted language condemning "foreign occupation" and "violation of international law."

Gillerman signaled that Israel, the target of hundreds of critical resolutions, was changing strategy and taking the offensive instead of just responding with speeches in the 191-member assembly that is traditionally sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

"Israel will no longer sit back and be the target of Israeli-bashing," he told reporters. "We will try to do things differently, much more proactive and even aggressive."

Nasser al-Kidwa, the Palestinian U.N. observer, in a separate news conference, called the Israeli draft an attempt to divert from the unique situation of Palestinian children.

He said Palestinian children were deprived of every right included in a 1990 U.N. treaty on the rights of the child beginning with the right of statehood up to the right of physical protection.

"The case is broader and has no comparison with Israeli children," al Kidwa said. "That is why it did not have any chance. What we need is a different set of policies. We need to end Israeli occupation."
Observations of Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations:
Israel withdraws its draft resolution and will not ask for it to be voted upon. We do so after the Egyptian delegation together with a number of other delegations have proposed hostile amendments to this resolution and have worked to ensure that its focus and intent has been perverted.

Israel presented its draft resolution only after the resolution on Palestinian children was presented to, and adopted by, the Committee. We would have preferred that no group of children be singled out. But once the plight of Palestinian children has been reserved for special attention, Israeli children certainly deserve no less.

In presenting this resolution, we presented a challenge before member states: could they avoid the selective treatment of Israel that so often plagues the UN and, at least on the issue of children, demonstrate the same sense of sympathy and compassion for Israeli children that has already been offered to Palestinian children? Those delegations that proposed these hostile changes, and those that quietly supported and tolerated them, have given their answer.

Perhaps someone can explain to me why the hundreds of Israeli children killed or maimed in brutal terrorist attacks deserve less sympathy and attention. A resolution that expressly recognizes that Israeli children are also suffering would contradict a worldview that Israelis are the villain, never the victim; that Israelis have responsibilities but no rights; and that the Palestinians have rights but no responsibilities.

The delegations that have opposed Israel's resolution at every turn and sponsored the proposed changes have demonstrated the shameless double standard that animates their conduct at the UN. These same delegations have for years used their numbers and their audacity to dictate their own blinkered worldview on the UN agenda as if the UN were their private property.

As long as this state of affairs is tolerated and appeased rather than forcefully confronted, no one should wonder why the credibility and relevance of the UN, and its role as a Quartet member, is sometimes questioned.
Searching Yahoo News Photos for {Israeli+children} this is the only image available. Out of 15 hits, 10 were photos of Palestinian children. In those captions, the word 'Israeli' described, not children, but the words: military, troops, tanks, forces, jail, and security barrier.

Israeli children walk past a synagogue as they head back home from
a kindergarden at the Jewish settlement of Netzarim, situated at the
center of the Gaza Strip (AFP/Yoav Lemmer)

And so, who cares for the Israeli children? One has come to expect callousness and antisemitism from the likes of Yahoo News and the United Nations, but to see so many Jews busy blaming and fighting other Jews, investigating Arutz Sheva (see below), taking off their kippahs and hiding under their beds . . . what will it take to pull together?

Can you say . . . Ahavat Yisrael?