Saturday, July 22, 2006

Another Worthless UN Resolution

There's been a lot of talk this week about UN Resolution 1559 (which was passed in 2004). This resolution notably "calls for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias". I've seen any number of people, including spokesmen for the Israeli government, quite rightly highlighting the fact that this resolution has not been implemented.

As one particularly strident commenter put it:
Israel should finish what they started. After that, we should call on the world to "put up or shut up" and enforce Res. 1559. First, we need a multinational force with the authority to clean out Hezbollah. In other words, they are not peacekeepers. They are soldiers. Second, the US should advise Syria that we will annihilate them if they stick their fingers in Lebanon.
Strong words.

I too would desperately like to see Resolution 1559 implemented, although obviously not by annihilating an entire people as the armchair warrior above suggests (wiping Syria off the map anyone?). And yet, every time I see someone from the Israeli government insisting that the Lebanon is getting what's coming to them because they've failed to disarm Hezbollah and are therefore in breach of the will of the international community, it turns my stomach.

Partly, this is because it is clear to anyone with a modicum of knowledge of the area that the Lebanese government simply doesn't have the power or stability to disarm Hezbollah. A similar situation exists in Pakistan in areas bordering Afghanistan. There,Taleban fighters operate with virtual impunity, not because Musharraf supports them, he's our kind of military dictator after all, but because he can't actually do anything to change the situation. If he pushes the issue, he risks destabilising the whole country. So even though Taleban fighters undeniably operate out of Pakistan, we're not going to be launching an attack on the country anytime soon. Apart from anything else, it'd obviously be hugely counter-productive to destabilise the country in such a way. Likewise in Lebanon, and yet that is exactly what's happening there.

But the problem with the Israeli government suggesting that they're merely implementing the will of the UN really lies elsewhere. Here's just one example.

On 14th December 1981, the Israeli government unilaterally declared the annexation of the Golan Heights. Three days later, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 497.
The Security Council... reaffirming that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, the principles of international law, and relevant Security Council resolutions,

1. Decides that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect;

2. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, should rescind forthwith its decision;

3. Determines that all the provisions of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 continue to apply to the Syrian territory occupied by Israel since June 1967;

4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution within two weeks and decides that in the event of non-compliance by Israel, the Security Council would meet urgently, and not later than 5 January 1982, to consider taking appropriate measures in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
The Israeli government paid no heed.

Appropriate measures were then put forward in a draft resolution as required under 497. The draft proposed "that all Member States should consider applying concrete and effective measures in order to nullify the Israeli annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights and to refrain from providing any assistance or aid to and co-operation with Israel in all fields, in order to deter Israel in its policies and practices of annexation".

Despite the Israeli government's refusal to abide by Resolution 497, the United States government vetoed this draft.

Israel continues to exercise sovereignty over the Golan Height in breach of Resolution 497 to this day. They have shown not the slightest inclination to remove what the international community considers to be illegal settlements in the area. Last year, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution demanding that "Israel withdraw from all the occupied Syrian Golan to the line of 4 June 1967 in implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions". (For clarity, it should be noted that GA resolutions are not binding on UN members. Security Council Resolution 497 is, however.) Again, the Israeli government paid no heed.

No-one likes a hypocrite. A succession of Israeli governments, the current one included, have flouted and continue to flout any number of UN Security Council resolutions over the last sixty years. Today, they cherry pick the UN resolutions which they deem to be important, are prepared to use overwhelming force against a whole population using these resolutions as justification, whilst simultaneously ignoring completely those resolutions which they feel are not in their own interests. And then they complain bitterly when others refuse to conform to the resolutions which they do like.

The world doesn't work that way. At least it shouldn't. I think a lot of the hostility which many people feel towards Israel ultimately stems from this issue. It is considered to be an affront to the concept of impartial justice by many people all over the world. As I said, no-one likes a hypocrite.

I wonder if the staunch defender of the will of the United Nations quoted above would agree with the following statement?
We should call on the world to "put up or shut up" and enforce Res. 497. First, we need a multinational force with the authority to clean out Israel. In other words, they are not peacekeepers. They are soldiers. Second, the US should advise Israel that we will annihilate them if they stick their fingers in the Golan Heights again.
Somehow, I think it's unlikely.

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Unity said...

If you look closely enough you'll find that the US has vetoed more than 40 UN Security Council resolutions on Israel since 1967.

Anonymous said...

18 years of Israeli occupation left the Lebanese Army weak - and yet Israel claims they should have ousted Hezbollah. But does anyone really believe Israel wanted the Lebanese Army STRENGTHENED?? It's a Catch-22 for Lebanon - and a bonus for the Neocon Jews in the Bush administration that wrote "A Clean Break" in 1996 for securing Israel. First - invade Iraq to destabilize the middle east - then on to Lebanon and Syria and Iran...
Bush has been following their script religiously - while Fox News Jews promote it.