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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

September 24, 2002

Not that bad

So once again, the UN security council resolution (full text in that link) critical of Israel. I know, I know, and the sky is blue, so what?

This resolution is significant for a number of reasons. First, and most obviously, the US abstained from the vote, allowing it to be passed, indicating that the White House is none too pleased with the siege of the Mukata. Second, the resolution represents a compromise between a Syrian proposal and a US proposal. The notion US introducing a resolution critical of Israel is rather startling, however, give the outcome of this Security Council vote, it appears to have been a shrewd move.

While the US resolition called for the cessation of the Mukata siege, it also critcized Palestinian terrorism and called for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to be classified as terrorist groups. Unfortunately, the actually UN resolution fell far short of that goal, it did, for once, actually critcize the Palestinians and demanded action from them. This is a rare event indeed. However, had the US not introduced a proposed resolution, it would have been far harder to work against the very one-sided Syrian one.

Moreover, this resolution gives Israel good cover for ending this pointless siege. I've never been one to begrudge Israel's right to defend herself, but I find it difficult to see how the siege falls under that category. What this siege has done is focus attention on Arafat (who was rapidly become irrelevant) and make him, once again, look like a sympathetic figure. Furthermore, it has inflamed the Palestinians who are now actively protesting in the street over this siege, thereby bolstering Arafat's support.

With this resolution in place, Israel can withdraw from Ramallah, claiming to be merely abiding by a Security Council resolution, and demand that the PA live up to its half of the bargain. Then Israel can focus on more useful measures, like its recent raid in the Gaza strip which targeted Hamas terrorists. (The civilian casualties are, of course, regrettable).