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

April 02, 2003

UN panel too distracted by Palestinians

Hypocrisy in the arab states
In December 1969 the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 2535 B, which for the first time used the word "Palestinians" in UN resolutions. Until then they had been called ''Arab refugees.'' That resolution referred to the "inalienable rights of the Palestinians" and their right to ''self-determination.'' Subsequently, the UN reaffirmed this "right" in many more resolutions.

And so we arrive at this year's session of the Geneva-based United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), which recently debated under Item 5 of its agenda, "The right of peoples to self-determination and its application to peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation."

On the first day, even before the Item 5 deliberations, the chairperson of the UNCHR, Libyan ambassador Najat Al-Hajjaji, mentioned the Palestinians' right to self-determination in her opening speech -- a speech that she pronounced in Arabic, "In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful." When Item 5 was addressed, many Arab nations accused Israel of denying the exercise of this right to the Palestinians.

Anyone listening to the Arab delegates' passionate plea on behalf of the Palestinians might reasonably conclude that Arab countries care deeply about the Palestinians' plight. Alas, one would be wrong. The Arabs are less concerned about the lack of Palestinian self-determination than they are troubled by Israel's exercise of her right to self-determination. They simply use the Palestinians as a rhetorical weapon to attack Israel in international forums.

The history of Arab-PLO and Arab-Palestinian relations is characterized by manipulation, deceit, treason and violence. Jordan and Egypt occupied the West Bank and Gaza for almost two decades; yet, neither country granted the Palestinians the right to self-determination. Jordan expelled the PLO from Amman to Beirut in 1970 the Syrians attacked the PLO there in 1976, and when the Israelis sent the PLO packing from Lebanon in 1982, no Arab nation (with the sole exception of Syria) intervened to help the "legitimate representative of the Palestinian people." Colonel Moammar Gaddafi even called on PLO militants to commit suicide rather than surrender to the Israelis. Naturally, Arafat declined to accept the Libyan's suggestion.[more]