Category Archives: UN

Israel Belongs on the UN Security Council

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The Trump administration has stated that it intends to move our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. While this is important, there is a far more urgent goal because time is running short: helping Israel get a seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC), for which Israel has formally applied, when vacancies open up in 2019. There won’t be another opportunity until 2029.

Some background information is in order before considering strategies. The relevant facts are disturbing, to say the least, and deserve to be better known.

From 1946 to 1965, the UNSC had eleven members. Five were permanent: the US, the UK, France, the Republic of China (later PRC), and the USSR (later Russia). The six non-permanent members were drawn from five regional groups: two from Latin America and one each from Commonwealth of Nations, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Western Europe. To qualify for a nonpermanent seat on the UNSC, a UN member had to satisfy three conditions, which still apply today: (1) membership in a regional group; (2) group concurrence; and (3) concurrence by a majority of the entire UN membership.

Though a UN member after 1948 when it was created, Israel never even qualified for a seat on the UNSC because it did not belong to any of the five regional groups and thus failed to meet the first condition. The countries belonging to the Middle East group, which were dedicated to the destruction of Israel, conspired successfully to keep the Jewish state out of the group and in bureaucratic limbo. Why they were able to get away with it is not a mystery. The UN was perfectly content to treat Israel as a pariah state hoping it would disappear, an attitude that persists to this day.

After 1966, UNSC membership expanded to 15. The five permanent members kept their seats while the five regional groups were redefined and got two non-member seats each: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin-America and Caribbean, Western Europe and Others (WEOG), and Eastern Europe.

If it’s not apparent where Israel belonged under this reconfiguration, the answer is nowhere. The usual suspects, now in the Asia-Pacific group, were successful in continuing to keep Israel in bureaucratic limbo despite the new iteration of UN-style gerrymandering skullduggery. Once again, the rest of the UN didn’t care.

Incredibly, there the matter rested until the year 2000, when Israel became a temporary member of the WEOG in May of that year. In 2004, Israel obtained a permanent renewal of its membership in the group’s US headquarters but was granted only observer status at UN offices in Geneva, Nairobi, Rome, and Vienna — more UN skullduggery. Finally, in December, 2013, Israel became a full permanent member of WEOG. Thus, it took 65 years for the Jewish state to have the same rights as every other UN member! How many people knew that, I wonder? I hereby challenge Bill O’Reilly to run a “Watters’ World” segment on the question.

There are 28 countries in the WEOG: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, Australia, Canada, Israel, and New Zealand. The US holds only observer status in the group.

Except Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland (which is neutral), all 28 WEOG countries have been on the UNSC, even Malta and Luxembourg. It’s worth adding that several WEOG members have been on the UNSC three or more times: Italy (six times), Spain (five), Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand.

Two WEOG vacancies on the UNSC will open up in 2019. Initially, only Israel and Belgium applied. In a surprise move, Germany announced in 2013 it would compete. Group members would gladly push Israel aside in favor of Germany and Belgium.

Observers have rightly criticized Bonn for trying to spoil Israel’s chances and have urged the Germans to withdraw. But there is another alternative.

At the moment, the WEOG has three non-permanent members on the UNSC instead of two: Italy, Sweden, and the Netherlands. This unusual situation occurred because Italy and the Netherlands tied in a contested race for a UNSC seat and were allowed to split a two-year term. Germany or Belgium could perhaps be persuaded to use this as precedent and make room for Israel. Germany has been a supporter of Israel at the UN and might go along. NATO is in Belgium, so President Trump would have clout if he decided the issue had high enough priority.

It’s by no means a sure thing that the State Department would go along or move quickly enough once President Trump made his wishes clear. The pro-Arab faction at Foggy Bottom is powerful, well-entrenched, and would resist a change of direction on a policy they managed to keep in place for decades. The new sheriff just sworn in, Rex Tillerson, will only be effective after some serious housecleaning.

The real fight will be on the floor of the General Assembly, where a majority of the UN’s 193 members will have to approve Israel’s assignment to the UNSC even if for only one year. The many countries that conspired over the decades to keep Israel in limbo or tried to destroy it are still around singing the same tune. Muslim populations all over Europe are expected to exert pressure on UN ambassadors, as will the mainstream media. And then there’s the fact that, aided and abetted by the outgoing Obama administration, the UNSC last December voted unanimously to condemn Israel’s settlement policy.

Some will ask why the US should get involved. These are the folks who think the Middle East is a quagmire and we should stay away because nothing good will come of it. They would add that the US secretaries of state during 1948-2000 — from George Marshall to Dean Rusk to Henry Kissinger to Alexander Haig to James Baker to Warren Christopher — were right to ignore the appalling treatment of Israel at the UN.

So, Mr. President, which side will you be on? What about House Speaker Ryan, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, House Minority Leader Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Schumer? This is an issue on which our most senior officials can speak with one voice.

Question for the.@UN: Since when did the Palestinians become entitled to a state?

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As Newt Gingrich said in 2011, “The Palestinians are an invented people.”

In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization was formed to liberate Palestine through armed struggle. But it took years for the notion of a Palestinian people to crystalize.  In 1967, they were not recognized as such, nor were they considered a party to the conflict.  Security Council Resolution 242 passed after the ’67 war, made no mention of them.

The US as a matter of policy, promoted the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people and forced Israel to accept them in peace discussions at the Madrid Conference in 1991.

In 1993, Israel signed along with them the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements  (Oslo I)  and in 1995 the Interim Agreement on the West Bank (Oslo II)  but these Accords made no mention of giving them a state.

Surprisingly, President George W. Bush gave it the first official nod for the first time in his vision speech of 2002. This speech came about in response to enormous pressure from Saudi Arabia which was demanding the creation of such a state. Even so, it was conditioned on the Palestinians fighting terror, not aiding it or abetting it. In fact, there were many other pre-conditions to the creation of the state.  But the US and the world quickly forgot about the preconditions and went forward with the idea that the Palestinians were entitled to a state.

Then in 2004, Bush gave a very important letter of assurances to PM Sharon in order to support his plans for disengagement.

“The United States will do its utmost to prevent any attempt by anyone to impose any other plan. Under the roadmap, Palestinians must undertake an immediate cessation of armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere, and all official Palestinian institutions must end incitement against Israel. The Palestinian leadership must act decisively against terror, including sustained, targeted, and effective operations to stop terrorism and dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. Palestinians must undertake a comprehensive and fundamental political reform that includes a strong parliamentary democracy and an empowered prime minister.

“Second, there will be no security for Israelis or Palestinians until they and all states, in the region and beyond, join together to fight terrorism and dismantle terrorist organizations. The United States reiterates its steadfast commitment to Israel’s security, including secure, defensible borders, and to preserve and strengthen Israel’s capability to deter and defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats.[..]

“As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338.”

In this letter, which amounted to a contract, Bush committed the US to prevent any other plan being imposed.  He also committed the US to Israel’s security and reiterated Israel’s right to defensible borders. By affirming Res 242, he was affirming that Israel need not vacate 100% of the land.

Within a couple of months of President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, he repudiated this contract. In response to this and other indicators, I wrote thatObama intended to impose a solution on Israel. I explained on these pages in 2009 that he had to repudiate it because the contract if allowed to stand, committed the US to oppose the imposition of any other plan.

Obama then forced Netanyahu to recognize a Palestinian right to a state in his Bar Ilan Speech in June 2009 in which Netanyahu said:

“In my vision of peace, in this small land of ours, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect. Each will have its own flag, its own national anthem, its own government. Neither will threaten the security or survival of the other.”

He went on to stipulate two demands or preconditions: namely the new state must be demilitarized and must recognize Israel as the State of the Jewish people. This was the first time Netanyahu or his party embraced the two state solution. Obama was satisfied even with all the pre-conditions and stipulations. He got what he wanted. He would ignore the stipulations. And this resolution does just that.

Next, he backed the Arab Peace Initiative, which called for 100% withdrawal, contrary to Res 242, albeit with mutually agreed swaps.

Then he demanded a complete building freeze, even in Jerusalem. Even so he could not get any concessions from either the Arab League or from the PA as compensation. Having no other choice, he backed the PA’s demand that, as the price of the PA entering negotiations, Israel should release over 100 Arab prisoners with blood on their hands. Israel agreed, though no one had any expectations that the PA would compromise. This prisoner release was in effect another freebie for them.

After strenuous efforts to achieve an agreement, Obama backed off but demanded that there be a continued freeze and nothing be done to make untenable the two-state solution.

But he hadn’t given up. By engineering the passage of Security Council Resolution 2334 declaring “the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity” and demanding 100% withdrawal, he, in effect, was getting the Security Council to back his parameters for a peace agreement, namely ’67 lines plus swaps, with a divided Jerusalem.

This, in other words, is a demand by the international community that all lands east of the ’67 lines be free of Jews (judenrein, as the Nazis used to put it).  That would include the Jewish neighborhoods in the eastern part of Jerusalem.  Thus, the lands east of the ’67 lines must be ethnically cleansed of the 900,000 Jews that live there. A majority of which Jews were born there.

The Security Council underlined  “that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations….”  Thus the Jews were denied the Temple Mount, the Old City, including the Jewish Quarter, the Holy Basin and the Western Wall, otherwise known as the Kotel.

This resolution completely overturned Res 242, which was passed 50 years ago and which was the cornerstone of all subsequent initiatives like the Oslo Accords, the Roadmap and the Bush letter of ’04. Throughout this entire period, all US presidents stressed the need for direct negotiations to settle all disputes. Any concessions that Israel made along the way were conditioned on the basis of direct negotiations to come.

This resolution removed from such negotiations, the ultimate borders, the fate of the settlements, the requirement that the borders be defensible and whether to create a state.

In the Oslo Accords, Israel made major concessions to the Palestine Liberation Organization representing the Arabs by inviting them into the territories and granting them autonomy in Areas A and B as demarcated by the Accords, believing that all Israeli safeguards in the Accords would protect her. Keep in mind that the Accords did not promise the Arabs a state nor did they proscribe settlement activity.

Prior to signing these Accords, Israel insisted that the PLO accept Res 242 as binding. This was important to Israel because it stipulated that Israel need only withdraw to “recognized and secure” borders. This new resolution negates all Israeli safeguards but not the concessions made by Israel. To do so is unconscionable.

On the one hand, the UN continually accuses Israel of violating international law and declares the settlements illegal by international law; yet, on the other hand, it ignores salient facts and binding contracts. The resolution thus violates the international legal order itself. The UN should be governed by law not by caprice.

Another example of invoking a law that doesn’t exist is the clause which cites “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force”.  Howard Adelmanmakes short shrift of this proposition. There is no such law.

This resolution is built upon the proposition that the settlements are illegal by international law. But what if they aren’t?  The UN holds that the lands in question are subject to the Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies whenever a High Contracting Party (HCP)  i.e., a country which signed the convention, belligerently occupies the land of another HCP. But in this case the lands in question were not the land of a HCP but were unallocated land under the Palestine Mandate.

PM Netanyahu appointed a commission consisting of one retired High Court Judge and two senior lawyers to study the matter. In 2014, it issued the Levy Report, which concluded that the FGC does not apply. But even if it does apply, it doesn’t prevent Jews from voluntarily settling on the lands. And keep in mind that the Palestine Mandate gave Jews the right of close settlement on these lands, which right has never been terminated, nor can it be.

This matter has never been determined by a court of competent jurisdiction and thus the UN has no right to treat it as settled law.

To use the vernacular, Israel is being railroaded into creating a Palestinian state on all the territories captured 50 years ago, contrary to law, the facts, and existing agreements. Everything is twisted to label Israel a violator of law, when in fact it is the UN that is the violator. All this on behalf of an invented people who didn’t exist 50 years ago.

Why does UNESCO Insist On Rewriting Israel’s History?

“UNESCO ignores the unique Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, the site of two temples for 1,000 years, and the place to which Jews prayed for thousands of years,” Netanyahu said in a statement last month.

No one should be surprised by UNESCO’s resolution, passed April 11th, yet politicians across the spectrum in Israel have reacted angrily towards a UN organization that has catapulted itself into the complicated political quagmire that is the Middle East.  After all, Yair Lapid expressed the outrage by explaining how the most recent decision goes against UNESCO’s charter.

“This resolution was an utterly irresponsible intervention in one of the most complex places in the Middle East. UNESCO prides itself on promoting tolerance, interfaith and intercultural dialogue, yet it passes resolutions which erase the Jewish people from the historical narrative,” Lapid said.

The resolution in question takes Israel to task for preventing Muslim access to the Temple Mount and even the Kotel. These two sites, holy to Jews around the world are named as Muslim/Palestinian holy sites Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif and Buraq Plaza.

The resolution at one point says:

Further deplores the Israeli decision to approve a plan to build a two-line cable car system in East Jerusalem and the so called ‘Liba House’ project in the Old City of Jerusalem as well as the construction of the so called ‘Kedem Center’, a visitor centre near the southern wall of the Mosque, the construction of the Strauss Building and the project of the elevator in Al Buraq Plaza ‘Western Wall Plaza’ and urges Israel, the Occupying Power, to renounce the above-mentioned projects and to stop the construction works in conformity with its obligations under the relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions.”

Another paragraph states:

Calls on Israel, the Occupying Power, to stop violations against the Waqf properties east and south of Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif, such as the recent confiscations of parts of Al Youssefeyah cemetery and Al-Sawanah area by banning Muslims from burying their dead in some spaces and by planting Jewish fake graves in other spaces of the Muslim cemeteries, in addition to the dramatic change of the status and distinctive character of the Umayyad Palaces, in particular the violation of the continued conversion of many Islamic and Byzantine remains into the so-called Jewish ritual baths or into Jewish prayer places.”

With this sort of language, the government has essentially lost control of a process that began a long time ago.  The process of international delegitimization began by an Arab world seeking the help of other UN member states, has systematically attempted to erase Jewish history in Israel for the sole purpose of rendering Israel’s existence just one long occupation based on historical fabrications.

The question isn’t why the Arab world is engaging in such profuse insanity, but rather why is the rest of the Western world going along with it?  After all, by supporting UNESCO’s denial the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount or even most of the Land of Israel, many countries in the Christian world have in fact undermined the roots to their own history. So why the rush to support such erroneous claims by the Islamic countries pushing these sorts of resolution?

In his book 1984 George Orwell penned what has now become one of his most famous quotes: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” The UN and its associated organizations like UNESCO understand full well that history supports Jewish claims in their entirety to all of the Land of Israel.  More than this, history shows that is was not only the Roman Empire and later the Byzantines that contributed to the injustices of the Jewish people in their historic homeland, but the Arab world by and large finished off through forced colonizationwhatever fledgling community of Jews remained in the Land of Israel.

Dr. Harry Mandelbaum noted the following in an article he wrote for Think Israel:

  • The historian James Parker wrote: “During the first century after the Arab conquest [670-740 CE], the caliph and governors of Syria and the Holy Land ruled entirely over Christian and Jewish subjects. Apart from the Bedouin in the earliest days, the only Arabs west of the Jordan were the garrisons.”
  • In year 985 the Arab writer Muqaddasi complained: “the mosque is empty of worshipers… The Jews constitute the majority of Jerusalem’s population” (The entire city of Jerusalem had only one mosque?).
  • In 1377, Ibn Khaldun, one of the most creditable Arab historians, wrote: “Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel extended over 1400 years… It was the Jews who implanted the culture and customs of the permanent settlement”

These are uncomfortable facts if you are trying to paint the opposite picture.

In order to perpetrate a future dismantling of the 3rd Jewish Commonwealth in its historic boundaries, the claims of the Jewish people must be returned to the realm of myth.  Does this in fact cut away at the roots of Christianity?  It does, but Constantine through the Council of Nicea in 325 showed that he and the Church were perfectly comfortable in doing away with Christianity’s roots by reworking history and projecting that rebuilt history back onto the past.

UNESCO is in a sense doing what the Council of Nicea did centuries ago; attempting to permanently control the future by controlling the past.  The irony is that today’s Church has by and large made peace with the idea that the Judaism serves as their religion’s roots.  Despite this acceptance, their overtures to the Jewish people came about precisely because of the Jewish Nation’s return to its historic homeland, which destroyed one of the major tenets of early Church philosophy known as the wandering Jew.

The assumption by the Church, was the exile of the Jewish Nation came about due to a rejection of Jesus, proving covenant between the Jews and the Almighty to be null and void.  According to the Church this exile would continue forever.  Aurelius Prudentius Clemens said as far back as 400 CE: “From place to place the homeless Jew wanders in ever-shifting exile, since the time when he was torn from the abode of his fathers and has been suffering the penalty for murder, and having stained his hands with the blood of Christ whom he denied, paying the price of sin.” The Church was forced to dismantle this tenet upon the Jewish people’s return.  By reversing this sort of doctrine, the Church is essentially accepting the veracity of the Mosaic covenant.

Supporting UNESCO or at least remaining silent stems from the inherent need to deny a national connection the Holy Land for the Jewish people. For the world, this history, the history of the Nation of Israel and its connection to its land has become a burden. After all, it is far easier to deal with the Jewish burden than the Muslim one and perhaps, just perhaps that tenet of the wandering Jew, so vital to the Church and many Christian theologians, will be reinstated in a very careful way.

The nefariousness of all of this is of course obvious, but what is perhaps more telling is that the Israeli government has assumed this is just some sort of mistake or lack of knowledge. It isn’t, and the faster it understands this, the faster it can start pushing back successfully.

David Mark is founder of www.IsraelRising.com. He is a land of Israel activist and an advocate for the indigenous right of the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland, which includes reclaiming Jewish property in historically Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem. He lives south of Hebron,