Tag Archives: United Nations

UN Human Rights Chair Saudi Arabia to Behead,Crucify Protester


Saudi Arabia's King Salman

By Ari Soffer//Saudi Arabia is set to imminently behead and crucify a protester who was arrested while he was still a minor, even as it takes up a position as chair of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Ali al-Nimr is member of Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority, and nephew of an outspoken Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who has also been sentenced to death for anti-government activities.

Ali was arrested in 2012 at the age of 17 in the predominantly Shia province of Qatif, during a protest inspired by so-called “Arab Spring” protest movements elsewhere in the Arab world.

He was convicted of numerous charges including belonging to a terrorist cell, incitement, stoking sectarianism and attacking police with molotov cocktails, Saudi state media reported.

His final appeal was rejected last week, the state-controlled Okaz website added.

The sentence is a particularly harsh one; not only will he be beheaded, but his body will be displayed on a crucifix in a practice mandated by Islamic law (Sharia) as a way of publicizing his fate and deterring others from following his example.

Human rights groups have appealed for the sentence to be commuted, and others have called for the gulf kingdom to pardon him as a gesture for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, which began Wednesday.

Activists say he was tortured into issuing a confession, and note that according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – to which Riyadh is a signatory – it is illegal to execute a child under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed.

UN Watch head Hillel Neurer branded Saudi Arabia’s appointment to the UNHRC “scandalous.”

“It is scandalous that the UN chose a country that has beheaded more people this year than ISIS to be head of a key human rights panel,” Neuer said. “Petro-dollars and politics have trumped human rights.”

Incredibly, however, the US government has welcomed the appointment, with State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark C. Toner claiming to have no knowledge of al-Nimr’s impending death sentence.

“I mean, frankly, it’s – we would welcome it. We’re close allies,” he said in response to questions at a Tuesday press conference.

The Saudi government has yet to respond to the controversy.

The useless UN Obsession with Israel by the Numbers

un 2

The latest United Nations indictment by its so-called Human Rights Council of the Israeli Defense Force for its self-defense in the summer 2014 should not surprise. The record of the United Nations on the world’s only Jewish state, expressed in simple numbers, convicts the UN itself of suffering from a serious obsession with that tiny country.

In 1991, following the Gulf War, known in Israel as the “Scud War,” this writer was hired by the Office of Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to do a statistical analysis of voting patterns at the UN some of whose discoveries were jaw-dropping.

The background to the project was as follows: After America’s successful ousting of Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait, President George Bush, 41, delivered a victory speech to a joint session of Congress in which he resolved to create a new world order in the Middle East starting with peace between Israel and the “Palestinians.” Proposed was a peace conference between Israel and this phantom nation under UN auspices, which idea Jerusalem adamantly opposed.

The Bush-Baker administration dismissed Israel’s objections as so much Jewish paranoia, so one of the Shamir government’s tactics was to commission this writer to illustrate in simple numbers just how hostile the UN is to Israel and thus no conference under its auspices would be acceptable to it.

The study took three months. It entailed reading and categorizing 870 UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on Israel since the UN’s founding in 1945 through 1989 (the last year whose records had become publicly available.)

In this period, 26% of all Security Council resolutions focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Forty-two percent were neutral. Among the remainder, 4% were critical of an Arab state or states; 96% criticized Israel. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was never criticized.

During the UN’s first forty-five years, at least one Arab state sat on the Council in thirty-nine of them. Israel never sat on the Council.

The Security Council “called upon,” “demanded,” “requested,” etc. Israel to “comply, desist, refrain,” etc. from some action twice as often as the Arabs. In these requests, Israel was explicitly named 105 times; an Arab country was named only twelve times. The PLO was never named.

The Security Council expressed its “concern,” “grave concern,” “regret,” “deep regrets, “shock,” etc. over Israeli actions thirty-one times; about Arab states or the PLO, the Council never expressed any negative sentiments.

The Security Council “condemned,” “censured,” “deplored,” “strongly deplored,” etc. Israel forty-nine times. Regarding the Arab states and the PLO, the Council never “condemned,” “censured,” “deplored,” “strongly deplored” any of them.

In the General Assembly, where resolutions are nothing more than toothless recommendations, the numbers skyrocket. Of the 690 votes, 30% were neutral, commonly over procedural re-authorizations of budgets for peacekeeping forces. Of the remaining 485 votes, 8% (56) opposed Arab desires, commonly in opposition to fresh funding for peacekeeping efforts; 429 votes (62%) went against Israel.

The General Assembly “called upon,” “demanded,” “requested,” etc. Israel to “comply, desist, refrain” from some action four times. Israel was “called upon,” “demanded,” “requested” to “comply, desist, refrain” 305 times.

The General Assembly expressed its “concern,” “grave concern,” “regret,” “deep regrets, “shock,” etc. over Israeli actions 179 times. Regarding Arab actions, never.

The General Assembly “condemned,” “vigorously condemned,” “strongly condemned,” “deplored,” “strongly deplored,” “censured” or “denounced” Israel 321 times. No Arab state and the PLO were ever condemned.

In sum, the number of General Assembly votes by member-states cast with or for Israel’s position was 7,938, versus a cumulative 55,642 votes against Israel. Although there were only 690 numbered resolutions, many called for separate ballots internally on different parts. For example, with today’s 193 member-states, a typical tally on a resolution requiring five separate votes could mean a score of 150 ayes, 2 nays and 33 abstentions multiplied by five. Thus, one resolution in one day could result in 750 anti-Israel country-votes. Ergo, the colossal figure of 55,642 anti-Israel votes over forty-six years.

Now, as a thought experiment, imagine the General Assembly chamber before the advent of electronic voting from one’s desk. That would mean over 1,200 fists with thumbs pointing down shooting up in the air against Israel every month without letup for forty-six years.

This behavior has a kind of ritual flavor to it, sort of like a routine, spiritual exercise, like daily mass. In George Orwell’s satire of the Soviet state, 1984, government bureaucrats were required every workday to watch a film clip of Big Brother’s Public Enemy No. 1, the Jew Goldstein in what was call the “Two-Minutes of Hate.” The one at the UN might be called “Damning the Jews.”

After the Six-Day War, the pace of Israel-bashing increased from roughly a quarter of all resolutions to almost a third. Moreover, the above record does not take into account anti-Israel votes cast in other UN agencies and departments in which the PLO had a representative who ensured that whatever the issue the suffering of the Arabs at the hands of Israel was voted on. If, for example, the agenda concerned women’s rights around the world, the suffering of women under Israeli oppression would merit a separate vote; if the issue was desertification, Israel’s alleged destruction of the environment in the OPT (UN shorthand for the “Occupied Palestinian Territories”) was also singled out for special rebuke.

In the end, the Shamir government was able to resist President Bush and Secretary of State Baker’s desire to subject Israel to a UN administered “peace” conference. Under no circumstances would Israel subject itself to such a kangaroo court. Hence, 1991’s historic round table talks were held not in New York City or Geneva but under U.S. and Russian sponsorship in Madrid.

To this day, Israel remains the only member-state in the UN prevented from sitting on the Security Council, which — the bright side of this story — at least fulfills the Biblical prophecy of thousands of years ago spoken by the gentile prophet Balaam (Numbers 23:9) who said, “This is a people that will dwell alone and not be counted among the nations.”

Sha’i ben-Tekoa’s PHANTOM NATION: Inventing the “Palestinians” as the Obstacle to Peace is available at Amazon.com and www.deprogramprogram.com.

Breaking down the UNHRC report on 2014 Gaza war


· Command responsibility: All four IDF reports of alleged war crimes investigations have assumed that general targeting policy was legal and only individual soldiers could have gone beyond the rules of engagement. The report wants investigations of top military and civilian leaders who set targeting policy. This is a major fault line, but Israel has support from a range of foreign military and top academics for its targeting policy.

· Comptroller got more relevant: The UNHRC probe‘s chairperson Mary McGowan-Davis is following the State Comptroller report on war policy-making to see if it addresses her concerns, not addressed in the IDF reports. That report just got a lot more important.

· Turkel Commission: The report and McGowan-Davis hone in on the lack of implementing ‘Recommendation 2’ of Israel’s quasi-government February 2013 Turkel Report on whether its self-investigating satisfies international law. She totally skipped over its conclusion that Israel’s apparatus meets international law requirements and zoned in on only which of the 18 recommendations made by Turkel to improve investigations have not been implemented. The state has been very slow with addressing some of these and this could be an issue since it was an Israel-sponsored group.

· Gaza blockade: The report repeatedly takes Israel to task for the blockade, though the previous UN Palmer Report said that the blockade did not violate international law. Serious blame for lack of Gaza reconstruction was placed on Israel due to the blockade, seemingly ignoring the blame that many UN officials have placed on donor countries for failing to send most of the funds they promised for reconstruction.

· Accepting ICC jurisdiction: The report demands Israel accede to the Rome Statute and accept International Criminal Court jurisdiction. A non-starter from the Israeli point of view.

· Explosive weapons: Judge McGowan-Davis makes a huge point of attacking Israel for use of explosive weapons in those parts of Gaza which are densely populated. But most of Gaza is densely populated and the IDF has said that Hamas intentionally and systematically abused civilian locations to fire rockets, hide weapons and undertake other attacks. The report does not seem to consider how else the IDF could fight Hamas under these circumstances.

· Defining military objectives – targeting residential buildings: There is a debate about whether the IDF had an overly wide definition of military objective, especially in targeting residential buildings. The report then recognizes that Hamas fought from civilian areas which can convert those areas into military objectives, but perplexingly seemed to say that Hamas’ actions do not modify the legal analysis or obligations for the IDF.

· Warnings: The report unequivocally declares “roof-knocking,” firing a missile without a warhead onto a roof so it will not explode, but will make a loud bang and scare civilians into evacuating before attacking with an armed missile, as ineffective. The Goldstone Report made the same declaration, but whereas there are many international critics of the policy, many foreign military figures and top military law academics have declared the tactic effective, or even cutting-edge and worthy of emulation.

· Israeli investigations of alleged war crimes: McGowan-Davis is highly specific demanding not only investigations, but essentially also indictments, convictions and even sufficiently serious punishments.

· Palestinian investigations of alleged war crimes: McGowan-Davis only demands that there be criminal proceedings with nowhere near the same specificity. This could be a more lenient hand and double-standard, or, in light of her harsh condemnation of Gazan indiscriminate rocket fire, it could be she realizes they have done nothing and nuanced demands only have a chance with Israel.

· IDF release of classified information: The IDF has been complimented by supporters for releasing unprecedented information in its four reports about the military situation on the ground. The report said that too little information has been released and while realizing the IDF may jeopardize its intelligence sources, essentially demands the IDF release far more information. This is a major fault line for judging borderline cases where civilians were killed.

· Proportionality: McGowan-Davis seems to imply that IDF was obligated to completely change targeting policy, including possibly refraining from using missiles and artillery mid-war, after initial casualty reports. This is another major fault line and whereas, she cites one case from an international war crimes tribunal supporting that idea, but there are counter-cases.

· Was Israel’s report of last week referenced: It was unclear whether the report would take into account Israel’s major report released last week. The report did add references to that report, though the reports disagree on a myriad of issues.

The Supreme Council of Cyberspace


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