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By Alan Lazerte, B.A.,LL.B

Canada has recently been complaining that it is a "second-rate" nation in the structure and proceedings of the UN.
(See "Canada Excluded By Two-Tier UN").

But, did you know that Israel is excluded by a three-tier structure; and that Israel is the only nation so excluded? Of the 185 nations that presently belong to the UN, Israel is the only one not allowed to sit on the Security Council ever.

At present member states have been divided into five regional "groups":

  1. Western European & Others Group (WEOG)
  2. African
  3. Asian
  4. Latin American
  5. Eastern European
This structure is not provided for in the UN Charter, but the UN uses these grouping to facilitate and organize its work. The group system resolutions state that representation at the UN is based on a predetermined ratio between the five regional groups; including selecting and electing candidates from within their respective regional groups.

Geographically, Israel should belong to the Asian (part of Middle-East) group, but not all members of this group will accept Israel, as required in order to belong to a Group. The Western European & Others Group could, but has not, accepted Israel either.

The Group System also controls non-permanent seats on the Security Council (one of which was recently held by Canada), positions on the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and high offices in many UN bodies and agencies.

This exclusion of Israel (and only Israel) is discriminatory and violates the UN concept of the "universality" it demands from others, and violates important Charter principles:

  • Firstly: The right to be treated in accordance with "sovereign equality".
  • Secondly: The right to equal participation in the processes and voting in the General Assembly (GA).
  • Thirdly: The right to participate equally in GA discussions.
  • Fourthly: The right to stand for candidacy in rotating elections to the non- permanent seats on the Security Council.
While Resolutions of the General Assembly are not binding on member states, those of the Security Council are binding, leading to enforceable Resolutions such as led to the Gulf War, Bosnia and Yugoslavia interventions, using NATO (a defensive alliance) as an invading force; and still an "occupying" force for all practical purposes (including the arrest...kidnapping?..of suspected War-crimes perpetrators within sovereign nations). Where next ?

So, Israel, at the mercy of the other member states, and without even a voice or seat on the Security Council, could face a binding Security Council Resolution involving any one or more of a number of sovereign internal issues (e.g.: its capitol, control of refugee influx, water use, etc.) without even being involved in the decision-making process.

It would be interesting to know where Canada's Ambassador to the UN, protesting our "second-rate" status, stands on this issue of Israel's "third-rate" (really "zero-rate") status.

Shame on the UN, and on the nations, for allowing, (some even participating actively in), this hypocrisy and injustice to continue unremedied !

No wonder that Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, former US Ambassador to the UN warned long ago, "the UN is a dangerous place".

A legal opinion by renowned Jurist Sir Robert Jennings, QC, can be found at Opinion regarding the Exclusion of Israel from the United Nations Regional Group System (Opens in new window, please close to return here.)
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