PM Netanyahu and Ban Ki-moon .
(photo credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)
The UN must rid itself of anti-Israel bias and engage honestly with Israelis, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee members Michael Oren (Kulanu) and Omer Bar-Lev (Zionist Union) wrote in a letter to visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Tuesday.
The MKs asked Ban to take advantage of his trip to reach out to Israelis to regain their confidence in the UN.
According to Oren and Bar-Lev, 70 percent of Israelis do not have confidence in the intergovernmental organization, though they did not cite a source for the statistic.
Israel, the MKs wrote, is an “island of democracy and stability in a region that has so challenged the UN,” but they questioned whether the body has fulfilled the goals of its charter and ensured Israel’s equal rights as a nation among all other nations.
The lawmakers quoted Ban as having said in 2013 that in the UN, Israel has been “criticized and [has] been suffering from this bias and sometimes discriminations,” yet expressed disappointment that he did not take “corrective action to restore the UN’s lost credibility.”
Oren and Bar-Lev shared a litany of reasons why Israelis don’t trust the UN, including the fact that more than half of the condemnations issued by the UN Human Rights Council were about Israel – a singling out that Ban said “disappointed” him in 2007 – but, the MKs wrote, there has been no progress since then.
They also cited this year’s UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem that denies a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount while recognizing it as a Muslim holy site, and the fact that UN schools in Gaza repeatedly have been used by Hamas to store weapons, which Ban said is “turning schools into potential military targets.”
“These few examples are just the tip of the UN’s iceberg of problems,” they wrote. “Israelis see the bias and discrimination, yet at the same time, we remind you that opinion polls consistently show the vast majority of Israelis support peace with our Palestinian neighbors.”
Oren and Bar-Lev called for Ban to tell his successor, who has not yet been announced, “to eliminate the bias and discrimination that has poisoned the relationship [between the UN and Israel] and restore faith in this most valuable of international bodies.”