THE United Nations plays an important role in world affairs. It has had a number of successes in its 55 years. Unfortunately, the UN is also a monument to world-class hypocrisy.
This hypocrisy is glaringly evident when the UN Assembly or Security Council deals with disputes between Israelis and Palestinians. The UN Security Council recently denounced Israel for using "excessive force" against Palestinians who have been hurling stones, throwing Molotov cocktails, firing rifles and detonating car bombs aimed at Israeli soldiers and civilians for weeks.
But the UN failed to issue any condemnation against Yasser Arafat for the lynching of two captured Israeli soldiers held at a Palestinian police station and failed to condemn the destruction of Joseph's tomb, a Jewish holy place, by Palestinians.
The Israeli armed forces are responding as any civilized government would.
They are protecting Israeli civilians by using whatever force is necessary. The Israeli response to the current Intifada has included the use of tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition. The Israeli deputy consul general says there have been "123 wounded IDF soldiers, 158 wounded civilians and 10 dead Israelis" during the current insurrection.
Palestinian supporters denounce the deaths and injuries of adolescents. The Palestinian leaders and parents, however, tell the children that, if they die while attempting to liberate Jerusalem and killing a Jew, they become martyrs and go straight to heaven.
The insurrection has now gone on for 30 days. Arafat apparently believes the Palestinian deaths, particularly of adolescents, and the pressures applied at the UN will force the Israelis to surrender to his demands and turn over the ancient city of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. He is tragically mistaken. The majority of observers said Ehud Barak, during the most recent meeting at Camp David, made the most sweeping concessions to Arafat but he rejected them.
Earlier this week, Arafat claimed that he rejected Barak's proposal because he "feared he [Arafat] would have been assassinated by militants." Apparently, Arafat believes that violence against the Jewish state and its citizens will achieve the Palestinian extremists' objectives, and he has done little or nothing to stop it.
Why do I excoriate the UN? Because it endorses the violence perpetrated by these Palestinian extremists. Why do I accuse the UN of hypocrisy? An AP dispatch Sunday spelled it out: "UN peacekeepers (who were British) and Sierra Leone security police opened fire early Sunday to disperse hundreds of tire-burning youths demanding the lifting of a curfew. Witnesses said at least 13 civilians, including two children, were wounded." The report does not state whether the lives of any of the UN peacekeepers were in danger. Yet, in Israel, the lives of Israeli soldiers and civilians are in danger every day. The Israeli use of force to defend themselves from mobs bent on killing and injuring them is absolutely justified. Britain joined in the Security Council's resolution that denounced Israel for using "excessive force." What have Muslim countries done to put down insurrections in their countries when the fighting involved other Muslims? In 1988, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein used poison gas to kill thousands of Muslim Kurds-men, women and children who opposed his regime. In 1982, Syrian troops leveled the city of Hamah and killed as many as 25,000 men, women and children. In 1970, during the period known as Black September, the Jordanian army slaughtered between 1,000 and 5,000 people associated with the Palestine Liberation Organization and drove the remainder from their country.
But why refer to history when, as the Associated Press reported earlier this week, Egyptian "police fired live ammunition and tear gas in clashes with voters in three northern villages . .. As night fell, four people were dead and more than 60 people injured." Why were these Egyptian voters angry? Because "security forces prevented them from casting their ballots in legislative elections." Where are the outcries by Muslim advocates at the UN? Where is the condemning voice of Ralph Nader, who had no hesitation in denouncing Israel and said that the United States should use its influence to "stop provoking the much weaker Palestinians," and that "the idea of using lethal force against people who are throwing rocks-youngsters-is abhorrent." Nader a "straight shooter?" Baloney. He is just another sniper taking aim at Israel.