B’Tselem head: I’m not a traitor; Israeli U.N. envoy: You’re a collaborator

Hagai El-Ad is expected to speak on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, consequent to the Israeli-imposed siege and blockade of the Strip.

B’Tselem’s Director-General Hagai El-Ad adresses the UN Security Council, October 18th, 2018 (photo credit: screenshot)
B’Tselem’s Director-General Hagai El-Ad adresses the UN Security Council, October 18th, 2018
(photo credit: screenshot)

“You’re a wretched collaborator,” Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon told B’Tselem Director-General Hagai El-Ad, along with other accusations in Hebrew during a United Nations Security Council debate.

“Mr. El-Ad, you are a citizen of the State of Israel who is serving our enemies,” Danon said. “They are using you against us. IDF soldiers guard you, and you came here to defame them. Shame on you.”
He spoke after El-Ad – who heads the Israeli left-wing NGO B’Tselem – had made his first-ever formal address to the UNSC at the request of Bolivia, which holds the organization’s rotating presidency this month.
El-Ad reported to the UNSC on Israeli actions against the Palestinians, including in Gaza, which he described as an “open air prison.” He also spoke against the pending demolition of the illegally built West Bank Bedouin herding village of Khan al-Ahmar.
The Palestinians are not “inherently law-breakers,” he said, adding: “It is all but impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits from the Israeli authorities because the Israeli-established planning regime in the West Bank is meant, by design, to serve settlers and dispossess Palestinians.”
Israel is “testing the international community’s resolve to see how far, and how fast, it can proceed,” El-Ad said, as he called on the UNSC to take action to save Khan al-Ahmar.
Of himself, the B’Tselem leader said: “I am not a traitor, nor am I a hero. The heroes are the Palestinians who endure this occupation with courage and perseverance; who wake up in the middle of the night to find soldiers barging into their homes; who know that if a loved one is killed, impunity is all but guaranteed to the perpetrators; who stay on their land knowing that it is only a matter of time before the bulldozers arrive.”
El-Ad also addressed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the UNSC floor, stating, “You will never silence us – nor the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who reject a present [reality] founded on supremacy and oppression, and stand for a future built on equality, freedom and human rights.”
Later in the meeting, Danon charged that “B’Tselem is an Israeli organization that is funded by the EU and European governments. It was invited to the Security Council today by Bolivia – a country with a terrible human rights record to defame our strong democracy. But it has actually had the exact opposite effect. By bringing B’Tselem, Bolivia has in fact proven the strength of Israel’s vibrant democracy.
“I challenge you all to find a Palestinian, or a Bolivian, who could dare defame his government at the Security Council. At best, he might be thrown in jail. But he would more likely end up dead,” Danon said.
During the meeting, the British Ambassador to the UNSC took issue with the fact that Danon had addressed El-Ad in Hebrew, asking that a translation be provided.
After the meeting, Netanyahu said, “While our soldiers are preparing to defend Israel’s security, the director-general of B’Tselem chooses to make a speech full of lies at the UN in an attempt to help Israel’s enemies. The conduct of B’Tselem is a disgrace that will be remembered as a brief and fleeting episode in the history of our people.”