Wednesday, November 21, 2007

UN rewarded rejectionism and ignored refugees

In her blog, Petra Marquardt Bigman eloquently explains how the UN's one-sided treatment of the refugee question has rewarded the rejectionists in the Arab-Israeli dispute:

"The notion of a “right of return” remains one of the most intractable issues bedeviling any attempt to achieve a peaceful negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And perhaps no other issue demonstrates so vividly that by rewarding the rejectionists, the UN contributed precious little to the establishment of a Palestinian state. Instead, it encouraged those who have never given up their ambition to turn back the clock and consign the UN partition plan for Palestine to the dustbin of history.

"It is noteworthy in this context that some recent media reports paint an even more depressing picture of the UN’s utterly biased treatment of refugees. The issue was actually already raised in Chaim Herzog’s response to the UN’s “Zionism is racism” resolution when Herzog noted: “The Arab delegates talk of racism. What has happened to the 800,000 Jews who lived for over two thousand years in the Arab lands, who formed some of the most ancient communities long before the advent of Islam. Where are they now?”

"Of course, these Jews were expelled from their homes, but since they found refuge in Israel, their losses have been ignored ever since. However, a few years ago, their cause was taken up by the group Justice for Jews from Arab Countries. As reported in a recent article highlighting the group’s work, the Arab League responded to the adoption of the UN partition in 1947 by drafting laws — some of which were subsequently implemented by Arab states — which envisaged a number of measures to be taken against Jews living in Arab countries. The proposals reportedly ranged from “imprisonment, confiscation of assets and forced induction into Arab armies to beatings, officially incited acts of violence and pogroms.”

"The text of this draft legislation was submitted to the UN Economic and Social Council by the World Jewish Congress in January 1948. Just three years had passed since the liberation of Auschwitz, and the submission was accompanied with a statement warning that “all Jews residing in the Near and Middle East face extreme and imminent danger.” However, when the UN Council met two months later, the submitted material was not considered due to a procedural maneuver by the Lebanese ambassador who held the presidency of the council.

"This is perhaps a particularly dispiriting example to add to the many others that illustrate that in the sixty years that have passed since the partition plan for Palestine was adopted, the UN has done much to implicitly endorse those who rejected the decision to establish two states — one Jewish and one Arab — on the territory administered by the British Mandate in Palestine. But by rewarding the rejectionists, the UN has inadvertently also demonstrated how justified the Jews were to reclaim self-determination and to acquire the means for self-defense."

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1 comment:

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

The Arabs rejected the Jewish right of return to the Land of Israel, which is in fact accepted in the Qur'an!! And this before and during the Holocaust when the Jews most needed their homeland.