The UN Bailout of Hamas

FrontPageMagazine | Joseph Klein | Jan. 13, 2009

The United Nations has been working especially hard in recent days to bail out the Hamas terrorists from the prospect of a devastating defeat at the hands of Israel.

Hamas caused the present conflict by its unprovoked firing of hundreds of rockets deeper into Israel, targeting Israeli civilians for death and terrorizing its women and children. Hamas, not Israel, unilaterally decided against extending the six month ceasefire that had expired in mid-December 2008, which Hamas had been violating anyway. After clear warnings to stop the rocket fire which went unheeded by Hamas, Israel responded with military force in self-defense pursuant to Section 51 of the UN Charter.

Nevertheless, under pressure from the Arab bloc, the UN Security Council adopted a contemptible resolution on January 8, 2009, which calls for an “immediate” ceasefire, “leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza”. Hamas’s provocation for the Israeli military action is not mentioned even once. There is not a word stating that the rocket attacks on the Israeli civilian population must stop completely as a condition for such withdrawal of Israeli forces. Indeed, the resolution places no onus on Hamas at all for the present situation, much less imposing any obligations on the mini-terrorist state it is running in Gaza. Although Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and would never have tolerated a Hamas-led government if it had stayed instead, the UN resolution is based on the premise that Israel still effectively controls Gaza and thus is fully responsible for the welfare of the Palestinian civilian population living under Hamas rule. This is truly a heads-Hamas-wins, tails-Israel-loses setup.

Shamefully, the United States decided to abstain, rather than use its veto power to block this one-sided, anti-Israel Security Council resolution.

The resolution emphasizes “the need to ensure sustained and regular flow of goods and people through the Gaza crossings.” While calling on member states to “intensify efforts” to prevent “illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition”, nothing is said about destroying the remaining tunnels built by Hamas or removing the rocket parts and other arms from the terrorists’ hands that have already been smuggled into Gaza. There is no provision for an effective international monitoring force to stop any further smuggling.

The resolution “condemns all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism”. Since Israel is singled out elsewhere in the resolution for its military presence in Gaza and the rocket attacks on Israeli civilians are not mentioned at all, the spin artists accusing Israel of ‘crimes against humanity’ will have a field day. They will interpret the resolution as condemning only Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians and equating Israel’s acts of self-defense with ‘state terrorism’. No accountability for using Palestinian women and children as human shields – a deliberate tactic of Islamic terrorists – is laid at Hamas’s doorstep. Since Hamas is not mentioned even once in the resolution, the Islamic propagandists will surely argue that neither Hamas’s assaults on Israeli civilians, or Hamas’s deliberate use of civilians as human shields, were intended to be included within the definition of acts of terrorism. This fits into the Islamic fictional narrative that Hamas militants and other Islamic terrorists are not really terrorists at all – they are legitimate resistance fighters.

The resolution recognizes “the vital role played by UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] in providing humanitarian and economic assistance within Gaza.” It actually asks for additional contributions to UNRWA.

UNRWA runs the Palestinian refugee camps and UN schools in Gaza. Two schools reportedly came under fire during the present conflict by Israeli forces in response to mortar shells being fired from the schools’ vicinity by Hamas militants whom Palestinian residents were said to have observed in the area. Nevertheless, Israel has received all of the blame for the ensuing civilian casualties caused by Hamas’s deliberate use of Palestinian women and children as human shields.

UNRWA itself is not an innocent bystander. In the past UNRWA has allowed the Palestinian refugee camps that it was administering to be used as bases for small-arms factories, explosives laboratories, and arms caches. It has also allowed UN vehicles to be used to transport arms, explosives, and terrorists to their target locations. Terrorist organizations have been found to actively use UNRWA offices and schools to conduct their terrorist activities.

Indeed, in November 2007, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke out against a rocket attack aimed at Israel that was launched from a school in the Gaza Strip run by the United Nations agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees. According to a UN News Centre report at the time, “Palestinian militants entered the school while it was empty and then fired rockets from the compound.”

History is repeating itself. Hamas has followed its customary modus operandi during this conflict, using UN schools as safe houses from which to launch some of its attacks, while UNRWA officials tacitly approved or looked the other way. The UN has responded in a Pavlovian fashion to Israel’s military retaliation, ignoring its own findings from a little over a year ago concerning the militants’ use of a UN school as a place from which to fire rockets. Instead, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanethem Pillay and other UN officials have rushed in to blame Israel for the civilian casualties at the UN schools and everywhere else in Gaza, allowing Hamas to reap a propaganda windfall from the images of dead and wounded Palestinian civilians whom it had put in harm’s way in the first place.

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