Friday, April 26, 2002
The international community had been indifferent to the Palestinians' cause and it was necessary to fight the superpower that supported the Sharon government.
That's a hell of a statement! Bring it on, Greece! You and the U.S., two falls out of three. Oh, feel free to bring all your little EU friends along.
I also appreciated the statement from the U.K. representative, Lord Judd [sounds like the title of a Stallone movie], who opined that:
It was necessary...for Israel to look again at its offers to the Palestinians with a view to establishing why they were unacceptable. He [Judd] questioned whether the land had been divided equally and was equally fertile. Durable solutions could not be imposed but could only be achieved by the people.
But nothing quite matches the Ukraine's delegate, Mr Oliynyk, who observed that:
President Bush should compel Sharon, his ally, to implement UN resolutions. The President of the United States of America seemed unwilling to use his country's political power. The Palestinians had to stop killing Israelis but President Bush should use his influence to stop the Israelis waging war. Ariel Sharon could be considered anti-semitic because of the misery he was inflicting on his people.
The Israeli observer responded to these last comments by noting that, given the history of the Ukraine's treatment of Jews, Mr. Oliynyk was the last guy who ought to be calling other people anti-semites.
But lest you think that the Council of Europe is all talk and no action, here's the exciting conclusion:
THE PRESIDENT, speaking in English, said that he would now call Ms Feric-Vac, Chairperson of the Political Affairs Committee to speak, and that following Ms Feric-Vac's speech he would respond to the point of order.
Ms FERIC-VAC (Croatia), speaking in English, said that the issues being addressed were of great concern and alarm to the Political Affairs Committee and a sub-committee on the Middle East had been established. That had travelled to the Middle East and had held hearings. The Political Affairs Committee had not considered all of the amendments and it would be necessary to leave those amendments to the Assembly to consider. Some recommendations of the report would suit one side or the other but what was important was to get both sides to the negotiating table.
The Assembly then voted on something or other. Another blow for vibrant and salient democracy!
In the meantime, Peter Ross forwards a press release he came across, from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe -- like they really need *another* transnational bureaucratic body there -- that:
condemns the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force by the Israeli Army, the systematic destruction of Palestinian infrastructure and the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority as well as the Israeli authorities' practice of liquidating alleged terrorists without trial.
To be fair, the Assembly also "unreservedly condemns all acts of terrorism, in particular the suicide attacks by Palestinian extremists, and regrets the reluctance of Chairman Arafat to condemn them. It also expresses concern about acts of retaliation against Palestinians allegedly collaborating with Israel." Which is more than we can expect from the U.N. these days.
Nevertheless, I have just sent an email to this august body requesting that they elaborate on exactly what they would propose as a "proportionate" response to Palestinian terrorism. And so I add them to the ever-growing list:
Voicer of "disproportionate" complaint....................Time since my email
Peter Hansen (UNRWA)...........................................................4.25 days
Bill Graham (Canada Foreign Minister).................................4.25 days
Francine Lalonde (Bloc Quebecois foreign policy critic)....4.25 days
Chris Patten (EU Commissioner, External Affairs)..............3 days
Mikhail Margelov (Council of Europe).......................................1 minute
I figure that I'll re-send each email once per week.
Interestingly, Mr. Lapid, the Israeli observer at the Parliamentary Assembly debate made a similar point when responding to the buckets of slop spilling out of the mouths of the Assembly members. According to the "Assembly Verbatim Report":
The Assembly had told Israel not to use force but had not offered any other solution to the situation. If acts of terrorism were committed on a daily basis in cities in Europe, he doubted that the Assembly members would do nothing. Israel had no alternative but to use force. If the Assembly was going to give Israel advice, it had to take responsibility for the consequences.
Well said indeed.