UN Resolution 181 – 64 years on
Yesterday marked 64 years since the passing of UN Resolution 181 which called for the Partition of Palestine into a Jewish State and an Arab State (29 November, 1947)…writes Emily Gian.
On that very auspicious anniversary, it comes as little surprise that countries still committed to the complete annihilation of the Jewish state are engaged in belligerent activities such as firing rockets into Israel. Early yesterday morning, four rockets were fired from Southern Lebanon into Israel, with two exploding and causing minor property damage but fortunately there were no casualties. The IDF responded with artillery fire at the location where the rockets were fired (see more).
In August 2006 UN Resolution 1701 was put in place after the Second Lebanon War forbidding armed groups, foreign or domestic in Lebanon and established an embargo of weapons to Lebanese groups other than the government, to be enforced by the presence of 15,000 UNIFIL troops. It also banned Hezbollah from returning to southern Lebanon. Since that time there have been similar incidents of rockets fired, with immediate statements from UNIFIL declaring the incident to be in violation of Resolution 1701, but nothing much has eventuated from their declarations.
We can assume that this will be the case this time with Beirut radio saying that “UNIFIL rejects reports suggesting any violation of UN Resolution 1701 and is working to restore normalcy” (see more). I would suggest that UNIFIL probably needs to work a little harder. The United Nations immediately condemned the attack and predictably urged “all parties to exercise maximum restraint”. The statement also made mention of Resolution 1701 declaring that it “also calls for respect for the so-called Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon, the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, and an end to arms smuggling in the area”.
It seems easy for the United Nations to call on Israel and Lebanon to exercise maximum restraint after the fact, but with 15,000 UNIFIL troops operating in the area, one has to wonder how effective they are, particularly given Hezbollah’s control and its worrying ties with Iran. As a side note, there are a number of commentators suggesting that it is no coincidence that the rocket attacks on Israel came just a few hours after a mysterious explosion in the strategically important city of Esfahan, a hub of Iran’s nuclear program (see more).
With the Middle East Correspondents of both local broadsheets busy reporting from Egypt, both have reproduced the same AFP article about the incident. Despite this, their headlines show how differently each views the situation. Please see ‘Rockets prompt warning by Israel’ from the Age and ‘Rockets from Lebanon hit Israel’ – despite the fact that indiscriminate missile fire was initiated against Israel, the Age acted in character and placed emphasis on Israel’s subsequent warning and not the attack itself. I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky we do not live in the UK, where the Guardian headline read ‘Israel and Lebanon exchange rocket fire’ (see more).
The Age article refers back to incidents in August this year and the year before where an exchange of fire occurred between Lebanese and Israeli soldiers. No context is given to either incident (see more). Even less context is given to a reference to an incident in May 2011 where “Israeli troops killed 10 people and wounded more than 110 others on the border in South Lebanese during a Palestinian refugee protest to mark the anniversary of the 1948 creation of the Jewish state”. Please read a more accurate and truer version of the events by clicking here.
Today’s Australian carries a story taken from the Wall Street Journal of a UN report that has found that more than 250 children have been killed by Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime in Syria since the uprising began in March. The story raises at least two important matters.
First is the story that emerged last week about UNESCO’s executive board, which among other countries includes the US, France and the UK, unanimously elected Syria to a pair of committees, one that deals directly with human rights issues (see more). I suppose the international community believes that a country is eminently qualified to discuss human rights matters when it constantly violates the human rights of its own people (see more).
Secondly, the Age deigned not to run with the story of the murder of 250 Syrian children by the Syrian regime, just as it often turns a blind eye to the excesses of many corrupt and brutal regimes and terrorist entities in the region.
Contrast this to the amount of column centimetres (perhaps I should say metres), this newspaper’s correspondents has devoted to highlighting allegations against Israel by those sympathetic to similarly brutal and offensive regimes such as Hamas, which has illegally ruled over Gaza since its coup against the Palestine Authority a few years ago, and Hezbollah. Contrast this to the stories written by its correspondent Paul McGeough on the ill fated flotilla last year, of which a patently one-sided account taken from the villains of the piece gained him recognition from the Walkley people as well as a Dishonest Reporting honour from Honest Reporting.
On the anniversary of the UN vote for the formation of Israel as a Jewish State, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor delivered a fantastic speech to the UN which will most likely fall of deaf ears. He spoke about Palestinian and Jewish refugees and contrasted Israel’s ability to absorb their refugees with the way Israel’s neighbours have allowed Palestinians to fester in refugee camps. He also highlighted the way in which Palestinians are discriminated in their host countries, such as Lebanon, where Palestinians are prohibited from certain professions and from owning land. He declared “true friends of the Palestinians have a responsibility to tell them the truth. The will stop promoting the distorted version of history that characterises this day, and start delivering the real lessons of history that Palestinian leadership now refuses to heed. These lessons are clear: bilateral negotiations are the only route to two states, for two peoples – living side-by-side in peace and security; negotiations that resolve the outstanding concerns of both sides”. To read the full text of his speech, click here.
Emily Gian is the Israel Advocacy Analyst at the Zionist Council of Victoria and a PhD Candidate in Israeli Literature at the University of Melbourne