The UN’s year of shame

The UN’s year of shame

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At a time when the President of Syria, Bashar Al Assad is committing war crimes on a daily basis in Syria, when the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko continues to rule with an iron fist as the last dictator of Europe and when the North Korean Communist regime continues to enslave its own people, it feels at times that the UN is blaming the only democratic nation in the Middle East for all the world’s problems. The fact that Israel contributes so much to humanity, as highlighted by this article here falls by the wayside.

In this piece, I wanted to focus on a few examples of the UN’s approach to Israel, which leaves a lot to be desired. There are many examples I could have picked which have been highlighted by the excellent work UN Watch has done, but in the interests of brevity I’ve concentrated on a few examples.

Absurdly on March 24th 2016 rather than censure some of the worst abusers of women’s rights worldwide, such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran, it was Israel who was condemned as the only violator of women’s rights worldwide by the UN’s 45 member Commission on the Status of Women. In the UN’s world the fact that Golda Meir was the first ever women Prime Minister and Israel has a much better record on women’s rights than any of the surrounding nations around it doesn’t come into it.

The resolution adopted by the Committee on March 24 2016 stated that Israel was the major obstacle for Palestinian women. Now of course you would need a heart of stone to not realise that when it comes to the encounters Palestinians have with Israelis often through the IDF, this can often be traumatic and feel very invasive. However, Israel is not to blame for the rise of honor killings in the West Bank or Gaza which the report doesn’t even reference, or the fact that as an Islamist terrorist group, Hamas who is in charge of Gaza repress women. Therefore, the resolution was doubly wrong, both in unfairly singling out Israel, but secondly in ignoring the myriad of reasons for the plight of Palestinian women. You can find more details about this shameful resolution here.

Not content with this, the World Health Organisation (a UN body) decided to get in on the act of singling out Israel on May 26 2016. On this day the WHO called for an investigation into alleged abuses “of mental, physical and environmental health rights by Israel.”  Again, Israel was subject to special treatment with no other nation in the world being censured worldwide.  What is going on in Yemen when it comes to health rights didn’t seem to warrant mention, nor the ugly civil war in Syria which is leading to a humanitarian catastrophe and has seen hospitals targeted for air strikes and medical personnel shot for collaboration with the rebels.  Now of course where abuses of the health of Palestinians occur this should be investigated and this is something Israel does. However, at present Israeli hospitals are going out of their way to treat Syrians fleeing from the civil war and as I’ve seen first-hand at Save a Child’s Heart hospital in Jerusalem are treating on a regular basis Palestinian Arabs. None of this is mentioned. Once again a UN body is unfairly singling out Israel and then not looking at the bigger picture in its rush to condemn Israel. You could read more about this ignominious vote here. This all becomes even more absurd when you consider that in November 2016 the WHO recognised Israel’s field hospitals, sent to help in disasters overseas such as earthquakes, as the best in the world.

The record of the UN over the year is one which suggests an organisation biased against Israel, highlighted by the fact that in this year’s session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), 20 resolutions were adopted against Israel, comparing to just four for all the other countries in the world. It’s a matter that even the outgoing General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon has admitted is an issue saying that:

“Decades of political maneuverings have created a disproportionate volume of resolutions, reports and conferences criticising Israel. Inn many cases, rather than helping the Palestinian cause, this reality has hampered the ability of the UN to fulfil its roles effectively.”

The UN should be a force for good, looking at ways for instance through supporting coexistence projects on the ground that they can help bring Israelis and Palestinians closer towards a two state solution. This can be achieved, but only if Israel is treated on an equal footing to all other nations in the UN in 2017 and not used as a nation to focus all its opprobrium on, whilst at the same ignoring far worse human rights abusers.

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