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UN Watch Briefing

Analysis and Commentary from UN Watch in Geneva
14 May 2003  — Issue 100

The Quartet (comprising the United States, European Union, Russia, and the United Nations) has formally released the "Performance-Based Road Map to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." As a member of the Quartet, the UN will take part in any decision on whether the parties have lived up to their commitments.  That is cause for concern.

Analysis: Will the UN act impartially?  Will it demand that the Palestinians meet all of their obligations before advancing to the next stage?  The UN's record is not encouraging.

The current UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Larsen, denied that the UN had videotapes of Hezbollah terrorists involved in the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers on the Lebanese border.  He was forced to recant when the tapes turned up in the UN's possession.  Larsen also displayed his bias last year, when he said: "the government of Israel has lost all moral ground in this conflict."

Peter Hansen, The head of the UN's agency for Palestinian refugees, said after a visit to Jenin: "I had hoped that the horror stories of Jenin were exaggerated and influenced by the emotions engaged but I am afraid these were not exaggerated and that Jenin camp residents lived through a human catastrophe that have [sic] few parallels in recent history."  Just three weeks before Hansen's statement, a suicide bomber murdered 29 Israelis at a Passover seder in Netanya, killing indiscriminately an even greater number of civilians than died accidentally during the battle in Jenin.  Hansen apparently forgot that.

The General Assembly passes between dozens resolutions each year condemning Israeli various actions.  It has never condemned Palestinian terrorist groups.

The Commission on Human Rights passed 5 resolutions last month condemning Israel. One of them indirectly condoned Palestinian terrorism, rather than denouncing it.  The Commission's Special Rapporteur for the region has a mandate to investigate only Israel's actions, not those of the Palestinians.

Last year the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution warning that "Israeli occupation is a serious health problem."  Nothing was said about the health effects of sitting on a bus next to a Palestinian suicide bomber.

Most emblematic, the UN has two unique committees: one to promote Palestinian rights and the other to investigate Israeli actions.  Neither of these committees promotes Israeli rights.  Neither investigates Palestinian actions.

In light of this history of blatant bias, the UN has a heavy burden of proof to demonstrate - for once - that it can be an honest and impartial judge.

Also Watched this Week...

An Ounce of Prevention: A new report by the World Health Organization shows that over 5 million people around the world die each year from "often preventable injuries," representing 10% of all deaths.  Road accidents topped the list, responsible for 1.2 million deaths.

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