Saturday, June 23, 2007

Self-Awareness Check

This is from a memo crafted by outgoing UN envoy for Israeli-Palestinian affairs, Alvaro De Soto, to the new UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon:
“I would urge the new secretary general not to leap into something designed to curry favor with the Bush administration’s January 2007 Middle East predispositions — these will, in any case, change,” the memo reads. “Secretary General Ban will be the secretary general in five, possibly 10 years. He should ensure that he preserves his independent role and position in the most volatile region in the world, and that he does not simply align himself with the policies of a particular U.S. administration which will be out of office in two years…. Our policy should be distinguishable from that of Secretary [of State Condoleezza] Rice or Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.”
A “tendency toward self-censorship — treating Israel with exquisite consideration, almost tenderness — exists at the U.N.,” de Soto wrote. This is “partly for our own reasons: the legacy of the Zionism equals racism resolution and the resulting political and budgetary cost for the U.N., and Israel’s demonstrated capacity to undermine U.S.-U.N. relations. The Israeli mission to the U.N., in my experience, has unparalleled access in the secretariat, even at the highest levels.”

Indeed, when I look at the UN's policy towards Israel and compare it to the Israeli government line, it's like I'm seeing double. And certainly, the UN's biggest problem with regards to Israel is that it is too "tender."

You can read the memo here. Other highlights:
"In the meantime, Israel has sought refuge in, and locked itself into, an essentially rejectionist stance with respect to dealing with the Palestinians, by insisting on preconditions they know are unachievable....Similarly unrealistic is the demand for recognition of Israel, which sometimes slides into forms of words such as 'recognition of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state,' despite the fact that a consensus in Israel itself as to its Jewish character is absent, and despite Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory and colonization of large chunks of it. (47-48)

Oh them crazy Israelis. Demanding that the Palestinian government recognize them as a state and disavow their objective to destroy them prior to making concessions. You'd think they were a sovereign and equal member state of the UN or something.

De Soto ends by expressing "regret" for his "reflex" to form policies based on what Israel and the US want, rather than what is "right." I'm trying to imagine what it would look like if that reflex was absent; all I'm coming up with De Soto strapping a bomb to himself and blowing up a Tel Aviv cafe (whose patrons--or "forces"--are well within the "theater of occupation").


Michael van der Galiën said...

That's possible one of the most hilarious things I have ever read that came out of the UN.

The sad thing is, he probably true believes that the US is soft on those evil Israel / Zionists / Jews.

Anonymous said...

That the US is totally compliant to the positions of Israel is hardly in doubt.

Formal recognition of Israel is just about the only bargaining chip available to the Palestinians. It is ridiculous to expect that the Palestinians must grant the concession before the bargaining begins. Why not demand that Israel withdraw to the '67 borders as a precondition for any negotiations. That would make about the same amount of sense.

PG said...

Palestinians always have the bargaining chip of being ready to kill themselves in order to murder Israelis. Even if a Palestinian leader formally recognized Israel, unless the government and indeed the society of Palestine strangled the suicide-bomber tendency, their unwillingness to do so would remain as a bargaining chip.

Anonymous said...

I would like to point out that it is difficult to demand the recognition of Israel when there are different iterations of Israel throughout history. Which "Israel" is to be recognized?

Apart from that I can't say anything The Canaan Conundrum or whatever you call the issue is not for anyone to claim "reality" on. The entire history is nuts, and as such saying what was, is and ought is not to be taken lightly. Grave sins have been committed.