UNITED NATIONS Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrives to address media at the UN headquarters.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has apparently revealed himself as a Palestinian partisan. In remarks last week to the Security Council, Ban said: “Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process... It is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.”
Besides appearing to justify terrorism, the secretary-general equated its Jewish victims with those who were killed while trying to murder them. “Stabbings, vehicle attacks and shootings by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians – all of which I condemn – and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, have continued to claim lives,” Ban said.
Could this be a slip of the secretary-general’s tongue: He condemns “targeting Israeli civilians,” but not soldiers? Could he be suggesting in a subtle way that the many attacks on soldiers are justifiable, since they are agents of an occupying army? If this differentiation is not part of a new UN policy, Ban could simply have said “targeting Israelis” and condemned the violence against all of us.
Ban speaks out of concern for frustrated Palestinian youth: “Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process.” Is he unaware of Israeli frustration? It hasn’t exactly been a picnic for us either.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response confronted Ban with what is finally becoming acknowledged as the fundamental truth of the Arab-Israeli conflict: The violence is the result of the hatred of Jews, rather than a response to alienation and despair due to years of failure to reach a peace settlement.
Netanyahu was blunt: “They want to murder Jews for being Jews and they say this openly. They do not murder for peace and they do not murder for human rights.”
He in effect accused Ban of supporting terrorism. “The secretary-general’s remarks provide a tailwind for terrorism.
There is no justification for terrorism. Those Palestinians who murder do not want to build a state; they want to destroy a state and they say this openly.”
Jewish officialdom was quick to respond to Ban’s assertion that the plague of Palestinian violence is the natural result of “frustration” from “half a century of occupation.”
World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder expressed regret at Ban’s statement, calling it a “dangerous justification of terrorism and the murder of Jews.”
He added, “It is extremely worrying and shocking that the leader of the international community has chosen to excuse the inexcusable.”
Lauder also warned of the danger inherent in the secretary- general’s words. “Mr. Ban’s statement will only encourage Palestinians to carry out more of the barbaric attacks we have seen in recent weeks. Crimes that are understood to be unacceptable in Paris and in Brussels – the random murder of people in the street or in their homes – cannot be somehow explained away when it comes to Israel.”
The Anti-Defamation League demanded a clarification from Ban of his remarks, which it called “highly disturbing.”
CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said Ban’s remarks were “incredibly short-sighted.”
Like Lauder, Greenblatt warned of the likely consequences of Ban’s statement: “These comments will not only serve to further embolden Palestinians seeking to attack Israeli civilians, but also undermine the global struggle against terrorism by making inappropriate distinctions and rationalizations.”
Ban did not speak in his own defense, but his spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, briefed reporters in New York on Wednesday. “Anyone is free to choose what they like or dislike from the secretary-general’s speeches. Words can continue to be twisted, but the grave reality cannot be obstructed,” he announced.
Moreover, Dujarric added, Ban “stands by every word” in his address to the Security Council. “He condemns the stabbings, vehicle attacks and shootings by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians,” Dujarric said, repeating that dubious restriction about “targeting Israeli civilians.”
He added, apparently in Ban’s name, that “nothing justifies terrorism.” But this is precisely what his boss attempted to do. Since his spokesman has invited us “to work together to fight the sources and the causes that fuel that terrorism,” we should join the UN in the worldwide campaign it should launch to wipe out anti-Semitism.