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UN becomes partisan against Arabs
By Karamatullah K. Ghori
|Toronto: A future historian would be fully justified in concluding that on August 1, 2002 the United Nations completed the process of its anti-Arab partisanship begun 54 years ago, in 1948, with the founding of Israel by a pro-Jewish and anti-Arab Security Council.
August 1 brought UN’s Palestinian and Arab bashing to a new high, for on this day the much –anticipated UN report on the Israeli massacre of hapless and unarmed Palestinians at the Jenin refugee camp, in the Occupied Land, last April was released. However, the report turned out to be a masterpiece of white-washing of any Israeli guilt for what was widely perceived, and documented as such, by international humanitarian bodies as a deliberately planned and executed massacre of innocent civilians. Even the most conservative figures of casualties compiled by non-partisan organisations put the number of Palestinians brutally mowed down in their shanty homes and maze of crooked alleys at several hundred, if not thousands.
This was not the case, apparently, if one were to go by the UN report which conclusively puts the number of Palestinians killed at the hands of the Israeli forces at just 55. It does not mention any scientific criterion for having reached this ludicrous figure. However, it does state that this number was arrived at after studying the ‘conditions on ground’ weeks after the massacre had been perpetrated by Israel’s power-drunk forces armed to the teeth with hi-tech American weapons, and with orders to take no prisoners.
Another source of data compilation for the UN were the heavily doctored Israeli government statements and reports which, as everybody knows, were made public only after they had been vetted and censored by the Israeli defence forces—an echo of the Pentagon-kosher press releases during the Gulf War of 1991 when nothing was aired on television, or released to wire services, without the military’s intrusive vetting. The UN, in this case, acted no differently. It swallowed the Israeli version of events without demur and also allowed the Israelis weeks to doctor and alter the ground realities in Jenin, while its inhabitants were kept under round the clock curfews.
The UN report not only insulted the Palestinians by not calling the mayhem at the Jenin refugee camp a ‘massacre’ but it also rubbed salt into their wounds by equating the victims and their inebriated oppressors on an equal keel. The report regrets the loss of 29 Israeli soldiers killed during the frenzy of Palestinian blood-letting and remonstrates that the Jenin refugee camp had been turned into a base of resistance by the Palestinians defending the camp dwellers’ lives and honour. In other words, it condones the Israeli brutalities because the Palestinians were determined to resist Ariel Sharon’s predatory incursions into the camp, and finds fault with the victims that they dared to create inconveniences and encumbrances for the Israeli invaders. UN has done no service to itself or to the cause of international justice by stooping down to such a level of abject kowtowing to the powers that have long been at work to co-opt its role and services in their ‘crusade’ against the Arab and Muslim worlds.
The Jewish lobbies in the U.S. and Israel, in tandem, have long been tilting at all the windmills to portray Israel as a victim of UN’s pro-Arab bias. This has been part of a well-honed psychological warfare to corner the UN into a position where it would succumb to all subtle and crude propaganda and blackmail. Kofi Annan, just approved for a second consecutive 5-year term as UN Secretary General, has been a special target of these lobbies’ psychological thrusts. His immediate predecessor, Egypt’s Butros Ghali, had tried to resist the American-Israeli blackmail and was made to pay the price for his temerity. Madeleine Albright, then US Ambassador to UN, led a personal crusade against his re-election. Annan was, thus, put on notice from day one of stepping into Ghali’s shoes not to dare take on the Israeli-U.S. combine , or else his fate would not be different from Ghali’s.
Annan has, obviously, taken this lesson to heart and tried, as an insurance policy for longevity in office, not to offend Washington and Tel Aviv. Therefore, he has been treading gingerly on anything likely to invite a backlash from either of these capitals, or from the powerful lobbies peddling influence on their behalf.
On the Palestinian massacre in Jenin, Annan’s conduct has been less than dignified. He backtracked quickly on his ‘fact-finding’ mission to look into the Israeli brutalities in Jenin when the Israelis showed open defiance to his plan. He is not a Dag Hammerskjold to have stuck to his principles. The Israelis had dictated to him the composition of the Mission—a highly innocuous one, to begin with. Then, a friendly American general was included on Sharon’s insistence to ‘balance’ the mission’s make-up. But Sharon did not want even that toothless team to look too deeply into the atrocities wantonly committed by his besotted generals and soldiers on the beleaguered Palestinians. So Annan took the line of least resistance and called off the mission to the distress of all those who knew that brutalities at an epic scale had been committed by the Israelis in Jenin which deserved to be unearthed.
And now to the utter delight of the Americans and the Israelis, UN on Annan’s watch has given a clean bill of health to the Israeli aggressor and held the oppressed Palestinians culpable for having shown even a token resistance to their oppressors. The scales of justice have been tilted in favour of the powerful and the weak have been left to lick their wounds. This augurs ill for the international community already reeling under the relentless onslaught by the sole super power of the day against all recognised canons of international law and civilised norms of inter-state relations.
But all this provocative miscarriage of justice against the hapless Palestinians may still pale into insignificance in comparison to what Washington is fervently planning to unleash against Iraq in the weeks and months ahead.
The U.S. has already committed heinous, genocidal, crimes against humanity in Iraq, all of which have been fully documented by human rights activists and NGOs. One of these prominent and actively involved crusaders on behalf of the oppressed Iraqis is Ramsey Clark, a former attorney general of United States who has been calling a spade a spade on America’s crimes against the Iraqis for well over ten years.
Clark has recently circulated an open letter, dated July 29, to all members of the UN Security Council, with copies sent to the General Assembly and Senator Joseph Biden in his capacity as Chairman of the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.
Clark, in his letter, has fully chronicled the crimes that U.S. has been guilty of unleashing on Iraqis, the most oppressive of which is the suffocating UN sanctions, now in their 13th year, and having already taken a toll of more than one million Iraqi lives, mostly those of children.
The sanctions against Iraq were imposed at the insistence of Washington by a supine and obliging UN Security Council on 6th of August, 1990, which was the 45th anniversary of the only instance when an atomic bomb was used against a civilian population—the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima in Japan. The Hiroshima crime had cost nearly a quarter million lives of Japanese civilians; sanctions against Iraq have already taken a four-fold toll of that, and there is still no relief in sight. In fact, if George W. Bush has his way, as he insists he must, there is much more terror in store for the Iraqis ahead.
UN, in all these years of U.S. genocidal terror let loose against the Iraqis with impunity, has been a mute spectator. It has done little to stop the deadly Washington-London duo from wrecking havoc on Iraq, almost daily, under the cover of unilaterally and illegally imposed ‘No-Fly Zones’ in northern and southern Iraq by U.S. and British air forces. The U.S., according to Clark’s record as mentioned in his letter, had dropped 88,500 tons of deadly bombs on Iraq in 110,000 aerial sorties ( one sortie every 30 seconds) in 40 days of carpet bombing of Iraq’s civil and military infrastructure before the land offensive in January-February of 1991 Gulf War. That savage bombing had destroyed everything necessary for civilised living in that country, including hospitals, schools, dams, irrigation channels, power plants, water purification and sewage treatment plants et al. But nearly that much tonnage of bombs has also been dropped on that hapless land in the 12 years of no-fly zones. And Bush is threatening to unleash still greater terror on Iraq. His appetite for brutality is, apparently, limitless.
The UN’s will and capacity to call Washington’s bluff will be put to a severe test in the days to come as Bush finetunes his predatory moves against Iraq. So far, UN has had no success in restraining or moderating Bush’s gungho stance against the sanctity of international treaties, even those that previous US administrations had undertaken to honour. Bush has unilaterally withdrawn from the Kyoto Accord on environmental safety, torn the international agreement on nuclear missile testing, and actively worked to sabotage the accord on an International Criminal Court. His administration has openly poured scorn on multilateralism under the canopy of UN.
Iraq seems to have a sharper perception of Bush’s aggressive intent against it than the UN and is putting the resolve, or lack of it, of the UN to test to stand up to Washington’s bullying. The Iraqi government has invited Hans Blix, head of UNMOVIC, to Baghdad for discussions aimed at resuming the UN inspection regime of suspected Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Kofi Annan has only guardedly welcomed the Iraqi initiative, and is apparently looking over his shoulder towards Washington whether or not he should give his blessings to Blix to avail of the Iraqi invitation. Annan has made it a habit to make sure that he is not caught on an awkward footing, and incur Washington’s wrath as a consequence, on everything concerning Iraq. His less than inspiring record, so far, does not behove an exception on this occasion,too.
Saddam Hussain has also taken another initiative to expose Washington’s aggressive designs, if any further exposure is still necessary, by extending an invitation to US Congressmen to visit Iraq, with arms experts of their choice, to look for suspected doomsday weapons in Iraq to their heart’s content. The invitation from Sadoun Hammadi, Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, has created a stir of interest throughout the western world, but has been quickly shot down as a propaganda ploy by the Bush administration and its votaries in the US Congress. They do not, obviously, want their only alibi for a blitz against Iraq to be pre-empted by any diplomatic or humanitarian initiative.
The craven, mercenary, intent of the Bush administration for another round of wholesale terror against the long-suffering Iraqis needs no further elaboration. Obviously, UN will have no role in these plans. The relative ease with which Washington managed to bypass the UN in its war against the Taliban-led Afghanistan is a model that the Bush team would like to emulate, on a much wider scale, in its planned war against Iraq. The UN has remained a mute spectator in Afghanistan, made a mockery of its involvement in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and allowed itself to be taken advantage of by the Israeli-American axis, and is unlikely to offer any meaningful resistance on Iraq, just as it is doing nothing to check the Russian ambitions in Chechnya.
On Annan’s uninspiring watch, the UN seems to have resolved to wash its hands completely of any diplomatic obligation to the Arabs, be they Palestinians or Iraqis. Its co-opting into a new phase of western imperialism is as good as a done deal. q