Does the international community treat Israel fairly?
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The State of Israel is an active member of the family of nations and a dynamic participant in international organizations. Israel joined the United Nations as its 59th member on 11 May 1949. Since then, it has participated in a wide range of UN activities and has enthusiastically contributed to UN organs and international agencies, such as those devoted to health, development, labor, food and agriculture, education and science. Israel also plays a role in the work of non-governmental organizations operating under UN auspices, which deal with issues ranging from aviation to immigration, from communications to meteorology, from trade to the status of women.
Unfortunately, Israel's willingness to fully participate in international affairs has not always been reciprocated. While the United Nations has intermittently adopted resolutions which would provide a reasonable platform for advancing peace between Israel and its neighbors, much of the time the UN has taken a biased approach towards Israel.
The UN has been misused often and turned into a partisan battleground in the ongoing political campaign being carried out against Israel by its adversaries in the region and elsewhere. The 21 Arab states, with the aid of the Islamic countries and the non-aligned camp, constitute an automatic majority for hostile initiatives, assuring the almost automatic adoption of anti-Israel resolutions in the General Assembly and other UN forums.
Since the end of the Cold War and with the momentum gained in the Arab-Israel peace process in the 1990s, a somewhat more balanced approach began to be felt in the General Assembly with regards to resolutions about the Middle East. The General Assembly's 1991 repudiation of its infamous 1975 resolution libeling Zionism as racism is one such example. In recent years, Israel has also been allowed to increase its involvement in United Nations activities, due to its limited admission into a regional group (throughout the history of the United Nations, participation in a regional group had been uniquely denied to Israel).
However, the outbreak of Palestinian violence and terrorism in late September 2000 and the ensuing years of violence and tension have largely reversed the positive trend. The Palestinian leadership, the Arab member states and their supporters in the UN seek to exploit the situation in the international arena to their advantage. As in the past, blatantly one-sided resolutions against Israel are often proposed and adopted. At times, even international gatherings, like the "2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance" in Durban, have been hijacked to engage in antisemitic and extreme anti-Israel bashing.
Particularly galling is the exploitation of UN forums for human rights, which are used - often by states that blatantly abuse human rights - as platforms for one-sided and outrageous attacks on Israel's reputation. This phenomenon is especially unfortunate given that the time devoted to condemning Israel takes away from the attention that should be devoted to grave human rights violations in other member states.
It should be remembered that some UN resolutions have been of crucial significance for Israel, among them Security Council Resolutions 242 (22 November 1967) and 338 (22 October 1973), which provide an agreed framework for settling the Arab-Israel conflict. Over the years, the UN has at times contributed to bringing about the cessation of hostilities between Israel and its Arab neighbors by appointing mediators, extending UN auspices to cease-fire and armistice agreements, stationing UN forces between the adversaries and its role in the international Quartet.
Still, the all too frequent anti-Israel bias on the part of the UN casts a dark shadow on its integrity and raises serious doubts about its ability to play a constructive role in promoting a genuine and fair peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
These texts are taken from material published by the Israel Ministry of Foreign affairs. with additional comments and hyperlinked materials. They were apparently published in connection with the Annapolis peace conference of 2007, but they have extensive applicability beyond it. They explain fundamentals of Israeli policy as well as the meaning of Zionism and history of the conflict.
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs text is at Israel, the Conflict and Peace. Original text is copyright by Ami Isseroff and Zionism-Israel Center.
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