February 28, 2011 at 6:29 am 1 comment

Continued from THE UNITED NATIONS – 1
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The missing factor


Excerpts from his book “How to avoid Armageddon”
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Similarly, in the Arab-Israel conflict, global power struggles and diplomatic considerations, concern about oil supplies and religion have plagued most efforts at promoting peace in the Middle East. At every stage there have been member states of the U.N. that have fostered tension and worked to prolong and even exacerbate the conflict. Especially cagey on this issue, had been the Soviet Union during the 44 years of its existence as a prominent member state and a permanent member of the Security Council. It sent huge supplies of sophisticated weaponry to the Arab states, thus accelerating the arms race in the Middle East. Tens of thousands of Soviet military experts trained Arab military forces. Soviet pilots engaged Israeli fighter planes in aerial dog fights during the War of Attrition in 1969-70. The Soviet Union even hoodwinked the Arab states into thinking that Israel was about to attack Syria – thus playing a significant part in causing the seismic Six Day War in 1967.

For a few years after the dismantlement of the Soviet Union, Russia played a far less disruptive role in global affairs. In the last few years, however, it seems to be returning to its former cynical stand against Western interests, offering support to many regimes hostile to the U.S.A., as well as those that are Israel’s enemies.

On the other hand, the U.S.A. has frequently invoked its right of veto in the Security Council, in order to prevent resolutions it deemed unfair or dangerous for Israel. For the Arab and Muslim nations, as well as many of their supporters, the U.S.A. use of veto is seen as detrimental to the cause of peace. It should be remembered, however, that the Security Council is traditionally negatively disposed towards Israel. This is because among the five permanent veto-wielding members, Russia and China usually adopt positions that are hostile to Israel, while France has a tradition of bias in favor of the Arabs. Among the ten rotating non-permanent members, there is always a significant number of Arab, Muslim and non-aligned members that are traditionally hostile to Israel. For these reasons it has usually been impossible for Israel to get a fair hearing on the Security Council, which has repeatedly condemned the Jewish State, yet never adopted a resolution critical of armed attacks against Israel by Arab countries or militant organizations, except a mild rebuke for Hamas in 2009. The American veto has often been the only thing preventing universal international sanctions or military force against Israel.

Anti-Israel resolutions take up an inordinately large proportion of the United Nations Organization’s time and resources. This is readily obvious when accessing the organization’s official website. If we take as a general example the General Assembly’s 64th Session in 2009, we can find an impressive list of resolutions dealing with a large number of global issues, including agricultural development, women’s issues, eradication of poverty, human rights, disarmament, economic cooperation, energy sources, combating desertification, as well as a great deal of talk on the organization’s budgetary concerns. All very important stuff. But in a world festering with grave human rights abuses and mass murder of civilians in a dozen countries, as well as numerous volatile border disputes, the General Assembly limited its attention briefly to Myanmar, North Korea, Iran, while mention was also made of the situation in a number of non-self-governing territories.

Yet, twenty-nine General Assembly resolutions censured Israel for its actions in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria. This was more than the censure of all the other countries combined. Significantly, not a single resolution was passed in connection with the ongoing atrocities in Darfur, the Congo, China’s brutal occupation of Tibet, Zimbabwe, etc.
This doesn’t mean that Israel should be above the law. Most countries can be cited for shortcomings in their human rights records and it is legitimate for the U.N. to focus on Israel, caught up in a life and death struggle with its neighbors and desperately needing to defend itself. But surely the focus should be on all the other involved parties as well. With all this intense focus on Israel, why is little or no concern shown for the constant threats, armed aggression and false propaganda waged against her? Clearly, there is a lot amiss in the U.N., at least where Israel is concerned.

Interestingly, there are approximately 20 special U.N. offices and committees dedicated to the Palestinian cause alone. No other country or region is the beneficiary of so many bureaus in the U.N. These include the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People, Information Activities on the Question of Palestine and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. These and other bodies within the United Nations Organization, supposed to help the Palestinian people, each employ scores of people and use up an annual budget of millions of dollars. Much of their work directly or indirectly promotes anti-Israel propaganda throughout the world. And significantly, they do absolutely nothing to further the cause of peace, which is what the U.N. was set up to do in the first place.

However, the largest agency within the U.N., existing primarily to help the Palestinians is UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), with a staff of over 25,000 and an annual budget of hundreds of millions of dollars, donated mainly by the U.S. and countries of the European Union. At the time of writing, according to UNRWA, there are over 4.7 million Arabs registered as refugees, many of them third generation descendants. They live in the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank and are aided with food supplies, education and health services. Many have never held a regular job.

Clearly this is an ongoing humanitarian crisis of gargantuan proportions that must be addressed by humanity and the U.N. is to be commended for its involvement. But there are a few salient points regarding the Arab Refugee Problem that are seldom, if ever addressed.

At the time of writing this book, apart from the Arab refugees, there are over 21 million refugees in the world, as the result of wars, forced uprooting of populations by despotic regimes and natural disasters, spread over Asia, Europe, Central and South America and Africa. The United Nations set up a separate agency in 1950 to help these people – the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In contrast to the Palestine Refugee Problem, this humanitarian situation, with a population over four times larger than the Palestine refugees, nevertheless employs a staff of approximately 6,300 people in more than 110 countries – a quarter of the number of aid workers for the Palestinian refugees (or a discrepancy of one-sixteenth).

Going back to the time that the Arab Refugee Problem emerged in 1948, it should be remembered that the first half of the 20th century saw many dreadful wars in which over eighty million people became refugees. In most of the cases, refugees were resettled in places outside the countries were they had dwelt. This is what happened with the Armenians during the 1915 expulsions and the refugees from the Balkan wars as well as the Greek-Turkish conflict following World War I. Similarly, hundreds of thousands of Finns expelled by the Soviets from Karelia rebuilt their lives in Finland. So did millions of ethnic Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia, Poland, East Prussia and other parts of Europe, and relocated to devastated Germany after World War II. The independence of India in 1947 precipitated terrible internecine strife between Hindu and Muslim communities, that led to population changes of over twelve million. In all these cases every effort was made to settle the respective populations as quickly as possible in their new places of domicile, and they were all duly resettled.

Also, Israel, at its inception as an independent state after May 1948, absorbed over a million Jewish refugees fleeing from the wrath of their neighbors throughout the Arab world as well as the surviving remnants of the Holocaust in the then inhospitable Communist countries such as Poland, Rumania and Hungary. Most of these people came with little money, assets or job skills, while Israel at that time was in dire financial straits. But with the help of Jews from all over the world, the vast majority of Jewish refugees to Israel were given homes and jobs and soon became productive, self-sufficient citizens.

But the Arabs, on the other hand, have deliberately perpetuated their refugee problem for over three generations in order to use it as a political and military weapon against Israel. This is grimly paradoxical, as the Arab world constantly spends enormous sums of money for the purchase of arms, instead of aid for their fellow Arabs – turned into refugees as a result of their attempt to dispossess another people of their lands.

What makes the Palestine Refugee Problem even more unique is that its perpetuation, demanded by the Arab countries, purposefully constitutes a major factor in preventing peace in the Middle East, and is ironically enabled by the world agency set up to promote peace among all people – the United Nations Organization.

Ralph Dobrin is the author of “How to Avoid Armageddon”

To order the book click:     type: how to avoid Armageddon


Entry filed under: Blogroll, dangeous lies and halftruths, How to avoid Armageddon, In order to survive, Solutions for Palestine, Things not mentioned in the press. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .


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