Israel and the UN — An Uneasy Relationship

1. In the General Assembly and its committees, as well as in the specialized agencies, there exists a long-standing tradition of singling out Israel. The General assembly devotes seven out of 140 items of its agenda to issues concerning Israel. No other member or issue is accorded such intensive treatment. The General Assembly still adopts 19 anti-Israel resolutions annually. The US votes against 16 of them.

2. The automatic majority enjoyed by the Arab-Moslem bloc enables this group to pass any anti-Israel resolution, no matter how one-sided it may be. This same automatic majority blocks the adoption of any resolution that has any hint of criticism against the Palestinians or any Arab state.

3. Israel is the only member-state in the U.N. that is prevented from belonging to a regional grouping and is, therefore, prevented from participating in much of the ordinary work of the U.N. Israel cannot vote for or be elected to many of the U.N.'s central organizations. For this reason, Israel cannot be elected as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. This situation violates the principle of the "sovereign equality of all Member states" of the UN, under the UN Charter (Article 2).

4. Politicization remains a serious problem in the specialized agencies. Anti-Israel resolutions are traditionally adopted in many agencies (e.g. UNESCO, WHO) on issues which have no relevance to the work or mandate of these organizations.

5. The Commission on Human Rights routinely adopts totally disproportionate resolutions concerning Israel. Of all condemnations of this agency, 26 percent refer to Israel alone, while rogue states such as Syria and Libya are never criticized. The special rapporteur assigned by the commission to the territories was given a mandate very different from that of any other special rapporteur.

6. Israel is the object of more investigative committees, special representatives and rapporteurs than any other state in the U.N. system. The special representative of the Director-General of UNESCO visited Israel 51 times during 27 years of activity. A "Special Mission" has been sent by the Director-General of the ILO to Israel and the territories every year for the past 17 years.

7. The "Special Committees" and "Palestinian Units" of the U.N. (The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division on Palestinian Rights, as well as the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories) spend more than three million dollars a year, essentially to spread viciously anti-Israel propaganda. These bodies are the focus of the worst anti-Israel activity under the aegis of the U.N. They organize, inter alia, the annual "Palestine Day" events at the U.N., as well as symposia and other events.

8. There are increasingly frequent cases of blatantly anti-Semitic remarks by Arab representatives at U.N. forums. In 1991, Syrian representatives at the Commission on Human Rights accused Jews of using the blood of Christian children in their rituals. On 11 March 1997, the PLO representative in Geneva, Nabil Ramlani, used the same forum to accuse Israel of injecting 300 Palestinian children with the AIDS virus.

In addition, anti-Semitism as a phenomenon has long been ignored or deliberately omitted in resolutions, forums and events throughout the UN, even in commemorations of World War II. It was only on 24 November 1998, 50 years since the UN's founding, that the word "anti-Semitism" was first mentioned in a UN resolution, appearing near the end of GA Res. A/53/623, "Elimination of Racism and Racial Discrimination."

9. The U.N. has repeatedly held Emergency Special Sessions of the General Assembly on Israeli construction in Jerusalem. The Emergency Special Session was originally conceived in 1950 for emergencies like the Korean War. In the last 15 years, these special meetings have only been held regarding Israel. Emergency Special Sessions were not convened over the genocide in Rwanda, ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, or with regard to the other major world conflicts.

10 . While the Arab-Israeli peace process that was launched in Madrid in 1991 is structured on the basis of direct negotiations between the parties, the UN constantly undercuts this principle. The Oslo Agreements, as well, establish that differences between Israelis and the Palestinians should be resolved only bilaterally. Nonetheless, the UN General; assembly passes annual resolutions that pre-judge the outcome of negotiations by proposing specific solutions to issues like Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, settlements, and other issues meant to be restricted to bilateral talks. Ironically, it was the UN Security Council that proposed these bilateral negotiations through Resolution 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), but the UN General Assembly undermines these resolutions every year.

Source: Israel's Mission to the UN.