Whether it emanates from world leaders or media reports, there is a barrage of public opinion chastising Israel for policies that supposedly impede the path to peace in the Middle East.
As anti-Israel sentiment is perpetuated through this misinformation, Israel is forced to contend with a degree of isolationism virtually unparalleled in its 64-year history.
In light of its rocky relationship with Israel and the anti-Israel slant it often takes, it was no surprise that the United Nations recently made headlines with yet another diatribe.
Following a six-month investigation, the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council issued a pejorative report that painted Israel in an extremely unflattering light. The title of the 37-page report speaks for itself: “Report of the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”
After concluding that Israel’s settlements violate the Geneva Conventions, the report called for an immediate cessation of all settlement activity, lest Israel be found guilty by the International Court of committing war crimes.
“The settlements have been established and developed at the expense of violating international human rights laws and international humanitarian law,” concluded the report. “Israel must, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, cease all settlement activities without preconditions. In addition it must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers.”
The report is replete with criticisms aimed at Israel and the wording is so partial one can only suppose the UN was intent on vilifying Israel before it completed its fact-finding mission.
The report says that “[a] governmental scheme of subsidies and incentives has been put in place to encourage Jewish migrants to Israel to move to settlements and to boost settlements’ economic development.” It declares that the settlements “impede Palestinian access to and control over their natural resources.” According to the report, “[a]ll spheres of Palestinian life are being significantly affected by a minority of settlers who are engaged in violence and intimidation with the aim of forcing Palestinians off their land.”
The UN implies that Israel is involved in some grand scheme to boost the settlements and significantly impair the ability of the Palestinians to live their lives. Does the UN not comprehend that there are over a half-million Israeli citizens residing in those “settlements” – which are actually vibrant centers of commerce and culture? We are not talking about a bunch of extremists living in rundown trailers in illegal outposts but rather about respectable individuals and their cities with modern infrastructures, state of the art homes, commercial hubs and beautiful schools.
Particularly appalling was the call for Israel to “ensure adequate, effective and prompt remedy to all Palestinian victims for the harm suffered as a consequence of human rights violations that are a result of the settlements.”
The UN is calling for redress for the Palestinians? Where is the call for Palestinians to cease all terrorist activities aimed at Jewish civilians? Why is the UN not demanding that Palestinians stop firing deadly rockets at Israeli cities and neighborhoods? Where is the insistence from the UN that the Palestinians officially recognize the state of Israel? How about a statement from the UN that urges Palestinians to end incitement in their schools?
While the UN assails Israel for alleged “human rights violations,” it is especially curious that this purported humanitarian organization overlooks the critical role Israel plays in facilitating humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.
Just recently, the Israeli government transferred $100 million in tax revenue to the Palestinian Authority that it collected on its behalf, in light of the PA’s fiscal crisis. That came in the wake of an advance of 250 million NIS in September and 180 million NIS in July in order to make certain the PA could pay its employees’ salaries before the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. In addition, Israel increased the number of work permits it issues to Palestinians, bringing the total number issued to date to nearly 50,000.
Israel also goes to great lengths to ensure that Palestinians have access to quality medical care and supplies. Tons of medication and medical equipment are shipped from Israel to Gaza annually. Thousands of Palestinians travel from Gaza to Israel each year in order to receive medical treatment at Israeli medical facilities.