“Ultimately, long-term stability requires a comprehensive peace agreement leading to a viable and independent Palestinian state,” he intoned, once again proving that for most of the world the only goal of the so-called peace process is the creation of a Palestinian state.
However, there was something welcome and unexpected that happened at Tuesday’s Security Council meeting.
This was the robust and unequivocal refusal of the Israeli representative to the United Nations to accept as truth the insistence that Israel and alleged Israeli wrongdoing is the root cause of the problem in the Middle East.
ISRAEL RESPONDS: THE ‘OCCUPATION’ IS NOT THE ROOT CAUSE OF VIOLENCE AND INSTABILITY, EXTREMIST IDEOLOGY IS
David Roet, the deputy ambassador from Israel to the United Nations provided a refreshing refusal to buckle under to the remonstrations of Ban and other world leaders.
Roet rejected the idea that the “root cause of the conflict” is the “occupation.” Instead, he insisted that the real root cause of the violence and instability in the Middle East is the “poisonous ideology of extremism.”
The Israeli ambassador pointed out that the Hamas Charter is unequivocal: its mission is to destroy the State of Israel.
Roet delivered a brilliant riposte to the secretary-general’s position that “settlements” are the root cause of the conflict: “There are many threats in our region, but the presence of Jewish homes in the Jewish homeland has never been one of them.”
What is a problem, Roet pointed out, was the Palestinian Arabs’ refusal to work towards resolving the conflict through what Roet stated is the only path to peace: direct negotiations. And the responsibility to ensure that the proper path to peace is followed falls not only on the Arabs, but on the international community which must continue shepherding the Arabs on the right path, and not indulge and encourage the flawed shortcuts of unilateral actions.
With respect to the conflict between Israel and Gaza, the root cause of the problem is that Hamas is committed to the destruction of the State of Israel. Full Stop. Unless and until the international community can persuade Hamas to, essentially, become something other than Hamas, there is no hope for peace.
Secondly, the unilateral steps – the “shortcuts” – only make the distance to peace longer. As Roet so importantly stated, by prematurely recognizing a State of Palestine, European governments are “undermining efforts to bring about a real and lasting change in our region.”
Roet also did not shy away from rebuking his host. He castigated the world institution for selecting William Schabas to chair the Gaza commission of inquiry. Schabas boldly expressed his firm belief that Israel was guilty even before he was chosen for the chair position.
The third root cause of the violence and instability in the region, Roet explained, is “state sponsors of terrorism.” And here is where Roet underscored the danger of an Iran with nuclear weapons. The Israeli ambassador took the opportunity to criticize the nuclear deal with Iran that is currently on the table, saying that it “allows Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, knowledge, and ambitions to remain intact.”
“This is a dangerous mistake,” he said, as he went on to enumerate the many ways in which Iran plays a central destabilizing role in the region, one which might soon become far worse – catastrophically so.
Roet ended by praising the global community’s unequivocal opposition to ISIS, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram. But, he said, “that same determination must be shown with Hamas and Hezbollah which share similar dangerous and radical views.”
That there are vast difference in understandings about what is right and what is wrong in the Middle East, about what are the causes of the problem and what is needed to bring stability and security to the region is not a surprise. But the divergence in views suggests that the world body will continue to play a negative, rather than a rehabilitative, one for the Middle East for the foreseeable future.