Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How the UN helps prolong the Arab-Israel conflict

Dump the CEIRPP


Over the years, the United Nations has done its fair share to prolong and exacerbate the Arab-Israel conflict. The explanation for this lies not with the world body conceptually, and certainly not with the ethos of its founders. But the UN can't but reflect the values shared by the bulk of its members, the efforts of an enlightened minority notwithstanding.

With the arguable exception of General Assembly Resolution 181, which in 1947 called for the establishment of independent Jewish and Arab states - and which the Arabs rejected out of hand - just about every subsequent UN/GA stand on the conflict has been to Israel's detriment. The most recent pertinent GA resolution, for instance, ES-10/18 of January 2009, basically regurgitated the Palestinian position on Operation Cast Lead, codifying it in international law.

There are now 192 member-states in the UN, most of which maintain diplomatic relations with both the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel. In practice, however, the PLO has a built-in majority for just about any resolution it champions. Start with the 22-member Arab League and add (though allow for some overlap) the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, then throw in "non-aligned" countries such as North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela. The result is that one would be hard pressed to come up with a single instance in which the General Assembly sided with Israel against the Arabs.

Not once has the GA unequivocally reprimanded the PLO or Hamas for engaging in airline-hijackings, bus bombings and other forms of anti-civilian warfare. Israel, in contrast, is censured at every opportunity.

THE international body sank to its moral nadir on November 10, 1975, when the General Assembly passed the odious Resolution 3379, by a vote of 72 to 35 with 32 abstentions, labeling the national liberation movement of the Jewish people - Zionism - as a form of "racism." The fact that the resolution was revoked in 1991 by no means entirely removes the ethical stain with which the world body remains tarnished.

But perhaps the single most damaging step the organization took to institutionalize its bias against the Jewish state came with the creation in 1975 of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP).

Unlike the Kurds, Roma, Copts, Uyghur, Tibetans, and others peoples' who plead for international support, only the Palestinian Arabs have a permanent UN-funded body which does nothing but agitate on their behalf.

As part of a revolving door of injustice, each year the GA meets to "discuss" the "Question of Palestine" and each year it passes the recommendations of the CEIRPP. The biases of the committee have metastasized throughout the UN system owing to its ability to poison attitudes toward Israel from within.

It is the CEIRPP which came up with the charade known as the "International Solidarity Day with the Palestinian People," held annually on November 29, and which sponsors an array of meetings, seminars and conferences targeting Israel.

The committee - which convenes again today and tomorrow in Geneva - is comprised of Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, Cyprus, Guinea, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine.

It will not question the Palestinian decision to reject former prime minister Ehud Olmert's magnanimous 2008 peace offer. It will not tell the Palestinians that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's seminal Bar-Ilan speech offers a way forward toward. It will not tell the Palestinians to end their boycott of the peace negotiations. The CEIRPP will never call on Hamas to recognize Israel, end terror and accept previous Palestinian commitments - as demanded by the Quartet.

Of course, the committee will do none of these things - because its raison d'etre is not peace but the vilification of Israel.

That is why this newspaper endorses a campaign initiated by the New York-based the Anti-Defamation League urging UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to dismantle the committee on the grounds that it is the "single most prolific source of material bearing the official imprimatur of the UN which maligns and debases the Jewish state."

The CEIRPP is also an obstacle to peace - it needs to go.

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