Sunday, December 23, 2012

The UN’s Richard Falk, and Ahmed: when silence is immoral

Between November 14, 2012 (when recent Gaza-Israel fighting began) and December 16—seven days ago--Israel forgot about the eight days of Gaza fighting and focused instead on the eight days of Chanukah. Israel also focused on the November 29 UN de facto recognition of ‘Palestine’. But while Israel seemed happy to forget Gaza, UN Special Rapporteur for Palestinian Human Rights, Richard Falk, was busy writing four essays on Al Jazeera English (November 18, 24, 29 and December 16). His remarks should interest us, for three reasons.

 First, they highlight the extent to which a UN official turns Human Rights into a weapon. While Israel ignores these Rights issues, Falk uses them to accuse her of heinous crimes. Israel races to erase Gaza  from its news and Falk races to  Al Jazeera, to incite the UN against Israel.

Guess who wins the race.

These four essays are not objective analysis by a UN professional. They are not academic studies. They are frontal assaults that put an official UN seal-of-approval on Arab efforts to demonize Israel.

As you will see in a moment, Falk uses the UN ‘brand’ to label Israel a rogue state that must be punished by the nations of the world. Indeed, if these four essays are any indication, he is the front-man in that attack.

Israel doesn’t respond to his attack. Guess who ‘wins’ this assault.

The second reason for our interest in these essays is that they provide insight into an upcoming war Palestinian leadership says it wants to wage against Israel through ‘lawfare’—using international law to attack Israel. Falk legitimizes this attack with the claims that (1) Israel brutally oppresses innocent Palestinians who seek only moral justice, and (2) Israel is an illegal occupier who inflicts such massive and disproportionate ultra-violence against defenceless Palestinians that she becomes the world’s worst human rights violator.  As for Israel’s brutality in Gaza—the subject of his essays—he claims that Israel started the fighting after it ‘broke the truce’ [sic] with a war crime and then fooled the world (with talk of self-defense). Falk claims that Israel has broken international law on two levels: (1) she brutalizes women and children using an ultra-modern killing machine called the Israel Defence Force; and (2) she has the legal obligation under international law to protect Gaza, not attack it.

He therefore demands that the UN investigate Israel once again for war crimes. As a de facto legal advocate, Falk presents his case by ignoring all violations committed by Hamas in Gaza (see below) and citing Israel as the sole war criminal in this conflict.

In the court of public opinion, Falk declares Israel ‘guilty’. In that same court, Israel is silent.

Guess who wins in the court of public opinion.

It’s going to get worse. While Falk’s attacks are not new, they are noteworthy here because the November 29, 2012 UN  recognition of  Palestine gives the Arab war against Israel a shot of what they believe is legal adrenalin; what was once propaganda can now, if their legal advisors are correct, become terminology for legal action in court. The AP has just this past week (December 20, 2012) reported that the Palestinian Authority declares that it will use its new non-member status at the UN to file war crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court, should current Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu win the upcoming January 2013 Israel national elections. This announcement surprises no one because Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has already told us in an op-ed essay in The New York Times (May, 2011) that UN recognition for Palestine means that the political war against Israel would become a legal war, something he saw as a major step forward in his war against Israel.

Richard Falk now uses these four essays to begin the process of initiating that legal war.

Israel says nothing.

The third reason for interest in these essays focuses on reader comment that today accompanies every on-line essay. One reader stands out. His name is Ahmed. We don’t know if Ahmed is a real name. But that’s irrelevant because Ahmed cites sources. It’s those sources that attract us.

Israel is silent in the face of Falk’s accusations. Ahmed is not silent. He defends Israel.

To address Falk’s claims, Ahmed cites the Hamas Charter, a TV interview and a newspaper essay. You should note that Ahmed’s translation of the Hamas Charter may not be exact. But even as he appears to deviate from linear translation, his deviations are instructive. His changes capture the intent and tone of the Charter, so you can understand what it means.

Listen to Ahmed (I edit for clarity).

You portray Palestinians as brave people fighting against a monstrous Israel and you cry out for the innocents in Gaza? Look at your innocent people. They drag bodies around the streets? They execute people with no trial? Sixteen [sic] Palestinians are executed by Hamas in the most brutal manner. Where is your outcry over that brutality?

60% of Palestinians [sic] voted Hamas into power. Look at the Charter they voted for. You think they voted for peace? The Charter says otherwise. It says that Hamas is one of the links in the Chain of Jihad [Holy war] that confronts the Zionist invasion [Jews in Israel]. It links up with martyr Izz a-din al-Qassam [a Muslim cleric who created armed groups to kill Jews] and his brothers in the Muslim Brotherhood [Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood] who fought Holy War in the 1930s; it relates to the Jihad of the Muslim Brothers during the 1948 war and to the Jihad of the Muslim Brothers of the 1960s. But even if the links have become distant from each other, and even if obstacles have been erected by Zionists to obstruct the road before Jihad fighters—nevertheless, Hamas looks forward to implementing allah’s promise, whatever time it might take.  The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said, ‘the time will not come [for the fulfilment of allah’s promise] until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them’.

Ahmed cites the Hamas Charter to tell us that that document is not about innocents longing for peace. It’s not about political self-determination. It’s about a religious war to kill Jews and erase Israel. Richard Falk may speak of the morality of a ‘Palestinian struggle’ against a brutal colonizer. But he ignores the brutality of a Palestinian immorality which provokes that fight; and he ignores the obviously colonizing intent of the Hamas Charter, which explicitly calls to conquer Israel.

So as to make sure we understand the practical consequences of such hate, Ahmed quotes the Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyah: armed resistance and armed struggle are the path and the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinian land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river—Al Aqsa TV, December 14, 2011.

For Haniyah, Palestine is all of Israel.  Indeed, the fight for Palestine must be a fight to eliminate Israel (Kana’an Obeid, advisor to Hamas government, writing in the Hamas newspaper, Al-Risala, October, 2012).

What is the real Palestinian story? Richard Falk, speaking on behalf of the United Nations, calls Palestinian aggression ‘moral’. He would have us believe that all the Palestinians want is peace. He tells us that Israel’s efforts to protect itself are criminal.


Perhaps you should listen to Ahmed. Read his sources. They’ll tell you what Arabs really want; and from those sources, you should be able to determine for yourself whose actions are moral, whose actions are not, who acts with criminal intent and who does not.

Then, finally, you must turn to Israel and demand, how dare you remain silent in the face of such outrage?

Your silence is immoral.

1 comment:

  1. Great article

    In Civil Law there is an idea of being civilly liable for damages when remaining silent and there is a duty to speak.

    Thank you Dr. Brodie