Israel, Ethiopia and the UN Security Council

The United Nations Security Council, which Ethiopia has now joined, recently passed a resolution declaring that Israeli settlements – including our capital Jerusalem and the place where the Temple once stood – are illegal and Israel must relinquish them. Ethiopia was recently elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

When the members of the council realized that the decision angered the vast majority of Israelis, including the opposition, they pretended not to understand. “It’s not an anti-Israel decision,” the leaders of various countries told us, “The decision is only about the settlements.”

That makes as much sense as Israel announcing its support for Ogaden’s independence or Eritrea’s claim over Badme. “It’s not an anti-Ethiopian decision,” we’ll tell our friends in Ethiopia, “It’s only about specific regions.”

I imagine that you would tell us that it’s a gross interference in domestic Ethiopian affairs. The Israeli ambassador would be summoned to the Foreign Ministry of Ethiopia and told, politely, that it’s time we stopped intervening in issues we know nothing about.

And that’s exactly what we feel.

There are many reasons why the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians is stuck. The central one is that the Palestinians authority refused at least three times to accept a country on over 90pc of the land. Most recently, it was Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who rejected the U.S. State Department Secretary John Kerry framework after Israel was willing to continue talks. If they really wanted a state then all they needed to do was say “yes.”

But they said “no.” Why? Because the United Nations Security Council has convinced them that there is no reason to make an effort to reach a compromise which will lead to peace. All they need to do is say “no” and the demands on Israel will only increase. Their conviction is strengthened that they have no reason to try and reach a reasonable compromise with Israel.

The United Nations Security Council forgot that each time the Palestinian authorities have been given an opportunity for self-government they turned to terrorism instead. The last time was in 2005 when Israel withdrew from the entire Gaza Strip and did not leave a single soldier or settler behind. The Palestinians responded by electing Hamas and firing over 15,000 rockets at Israeli civilians.

When we look north, to our border with Syria, we see what happens to countries which lose control of their own security. Over 400,000 people have been killed in that civil war and the Security Council did nothing except politely express its shock. For some reason, the Security Council felt it was more urgent to attack Israel, a country which seeks peace and is devoted to democracy.

Israel was, and remains, committed to trying to reach a diplomatic solution; we’re just not willing to be dictated to from abroad. The members of the Security Council might have no problem taking risks with our security but if their gamble fails no-one will fire the next 15,000 rockets at Ethiopian children. They’ll be fired at Israeli children. Our children.

It is important to remember the history of Israel’s relationship with the United Nations. The United Nations voted for the creation of a Jewish state and in response, the young State of Israel was attacked by seven Arab armies. Then, in 1950 UNRWA – the United Nation organization in charge of helping the Palestinian refugees, was founded and it listed seven hundred and fifty thousand Palestinians. That number is inflated but the real absurdity comes next: As of 2014, UNRWA lists no less than five million Palestinian refugees. In other words, without the expulsion of a single Palestinian, the UN has listed four million new Palestinian refugees. How did that happen? The answer is that the United Nations has become a hostage to its own structure. Too many countries distorted the aims of the UN, altered its way of functioning.

That is why the UN Human Rights Council had 61 resolutions concerning the entire world but in the same decade, it had 67 resolutions condemning the State of Israel. Israel was condemned six times more than the rest of the world combined. Israel is the only country on earth which warrants its own agenda item in the UN Human Rights Council. Agenda item seven dictates that every time the council meets there will be a “discussion of the human rights situation in Israel.” This discussion happens irrespective of whether or not there have been reports of human rights violations. It happens without a factual examination of the complaints lodged by Palestinians, usually allies or members of the various terror organizations that are sworn to destroy Israel.

During its annual meeting last year, the World Health Organization dealt with questions of mortality, life expectancy, the spread of disease and the need for vaccines. But the assembly also included one weird exception: It included a harsh condemnation of only one country, Israel. The resolution condemned what it termed the “Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights.” There was no explanation how this might be relevant to health issues. About 200 meters from the Israeli Golan, in Syria, hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children are being massacred and that wasn’t mentioned even once. In fact, the only connection between the Israeli Golan and health issues is that for the past few years Israel has quietly rescued hundreds of Syrian children who were injured in the fighting, and treated them in our hospitals.

Instead, an organization which protects freedom, democracy, and promotes peace, parts of the UN have become the opposite. There is an automatic majority against Israel but attacks on a democratic country committed to human rights in the service of murderous terror organizations are not in the United Nations mandate.

We expect our friend Ethiopia to bring a more balanced and reasonable voice to the Security Council than has been heard recently and help redress the bias against Israel at the United Nations.

By Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid is the Founder and Chairperson of Yesh Atid, Israel's largest centrist party. He served as Israel’s Finance Minister and a member of the Political-Security Cabinet during the 19th Knesset. He currently serves in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the sub-committee on intelligence and the security services.

Published on Jan 24,2017 [ Vol 17 ,No 873]



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