“All these attacks prove that settlers are dangerous and that it’s impossible to live with them. If these settlers are allowed to stay, that would mean more friction and confrontation. Peace can be achieved only if Israel withdraws to the last centimetre of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967” - Ahmed Qurei , Head of Palestinian Authority Negotiating Team – Jerusalem Post - 13 December 2008
This call to remove every Jew living in the West Bank – 500000 men, women and children - was accepted in total silence by the United Nations. No urgent meeting of the General Assembly or any of its Human Rights Committees was called to condemn this racial vilification of Jews by a former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority and its chief negotiator with Israel.
One remembers how fervently world leaders correctly argued that you couldn’t blame all Moslems for the terrorist actions of those few who hijack Islam and commit horrible atrocities worldwide in the name of Allah.
No similar statements were heard from those same leaders this week condemning Mr Queri for calling for the removal of those 500000 Jews because of the misguided actions of a few.
Collective punishment – not to be tolerated for Gazan Arabs – was perfectly acceptable when it involved West Bank Jews.
Indeed the UN Security Council met just three days after Mr. Qurei’s outrageous statement –yet raised not one word of protest or censure at his highly offensive and hate-ridden remarks.
Instead it passed Resolution 1850 (2008) by 14 votes to 0 - with Libya abstaining – declaring:
“its support for the negotiations initiated at Annapolis on 27 November 2007 and its commitment to the irreversibility of the bilateral negotiations”
and called on
“both parties to fulfil their obligations under the Performance-Based Roadmap, as stated in their Annapolis Joint Understanding and refrain from any steps that could undermine confidence or prejudice the outcome of negotiations.”
One could not imagine a more destructive statement designed to undermine confidence or to prejudice the outcome of the Annapolis negotiations than that delivered by Mr. Qurei.
His demand defiantly flies in the face of the written commitment given by President Bush to Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on 14 April 2004 – forming an integral part of the Roadmap negotiating process under the auspices of the Quartet - America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.
In that letter President Bush stated:
“As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities. “
In declaring its support for the Annapolis negotiations the Security Council conveniently ignored the basis on which those negotiations were undertaken by Israel as expressed in these clear and unambiguous terms by its Prime Minister – Ehud Olmert – at the opening of the Annapolis conference:
“The negotiations will be based on previous agreements between us, U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the road map and the April 14, 2004 letter of President Bush to the Prime Minister of Israel.”
All the international players sitting in the Security Council – including outgoing US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice – were surely aware that Mr Qurei’s statement sounded the death knell for the Annapolis negotiations and signalled the end of any hope for a successful outcome of those negotiations.
Yet instead of condemning Mr Qurei’s statement - or demanding its retraction - Ms. Rice had the effrontery to tell the Security Council that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators:
“had made the choice to defeat an ideology of hatred with one of hope”
The only conclusion that one can draw from the Security Council’s extraordinary conduct in totally ignoring Mr Qurei’s statement is its unwillingness to face up to the fact that Annapolis is finished, President Bush’s dream has turned into a nightmare and the Quartet’s strategy in backing President Bush’s Roadmap has exposed it as totally impotent in having any influence to determine the allocation of sovereignty in the West Bank between Jews and Arabs.
The Security Council by its silence has offered encouragement to those Jew haters like Mr Qurei who for the last 130 years have opposed Jews having any right to live in their biblical homeland – the West Bank - or indeed within any part of the 23% of Palestine designated by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter as the site for the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home.
In doing nothing to disavow the Arabs from pursuing their long standing enmity and racial hatred of the Jews, the Security Council has ignored a whole body of international law on the issue and given comfort to the long held Arab view that everything done since the creation of the Mandate in 1920 is deemed null and void.
“Jews out” is indeed a call that is still alive and kicking in the Middle East.
This racist fantasyland has been given a considerable boost by the Security Council’s flirtation with - and failure to unequivocally repudiate - Mr Qurei’s remarks when endorsing Resolution 1850.
United Nations efforts to eliminate all forms of racism worldwide have been seriously compromised.
RIP President Bush’s Performance –Based Roadmap. RIP Annapolis. RIP the United Nations.