April 27: The UN process

If the Security Council fails to make a recommendation for membership, the GA cannot effect a binding admission or recognition.

The UN process
Sir, – In “France says EU may recognize Palestinian statehood” (April 24), Martin Indyk did not get the UN process quite right.
The General Assembly can only make recommendations. It cannot recognize a Palestinian state and admit that state to UN membership.
The fact that the US cannot exercise its veto in the General Assembly is immaterial. The UN Charter does not give the General Assembly, acting alone, authority to recognize and admit a state for membership.
There is, however, reason for concern: Palestinian spokesmen have mentioned that they would try to get the General Assembly to use the “uniting-for-peace” device to recommend voluntary collective BDS measures. It would be another step in the ongoing program to use the UN to delegitimize Israel.
As for the UN’s action regarding the creation of the State of Israel, the resolution of November 29, 1947, was nothing other than a recommendation for partition. It was accepted by the Jewish Agency for Palestine, but not by the Arab states.
Israel was not granted UN membership at the time of its creation – it was recognized by the UN and granted membership in 1949 under the two-step process provided in the UN Charter: recommendation by the Security Council (in March 1949, with only the UK abstaining and all other members voting “yes”) and acceptance of that recommendation by the General Assembly (in May 1949, by a vote of 35 to 11).
The United States has made it quite clear that it opposes the use of the UN to bypass bilateral negotiations in establishing a Palestinian state. Thus, if the Security Council fails to make a recommendation for membership, the General Assembly cannot effect admission or recognition in a manner that binds UN members.
RICHARD SCHIFTER Bethesda, Maryland The writer is chairman of the board of directors of the American Jewish International Relations Institute
One is enough
Sir, – I was saddened to read “Bus flips over, injuring 46 on Highway 6” (April 24) and wish all the injured a complete recovery.
Yet the article stated that the bus driver “did not have a high number of traffic citations on his record.” What does the bus company consider a high number? More than one is too many.
I don’t understand why Israeli drivers are allowed on our roads with all the citations on their records. This situation must end, and passengers and pedestrians should be able to ride and walk safely on the streets and highways.
Anyone listening?
Sir, – Regarding Dan Diker’s recent op-ed (“Justin Bieber and Israel’s missed opportunity,” Comment & Features, April 24), sadly, Israel seldom misses an opportunity to miss a good public relations opportunity. The Bieber flub follows the recent Hamas weapons shipment fumble. I don’t understand why these things happen.
Here in the fleshpots, some of the smartest advertising and PR experts are Jews. Surely, some Israelis must understand how to play the game. Does no one listen? The US television audience is the most important public relations target in the world for Israel. It needs to employ PR professionals and follow their advice. This advice should include addressing the world through native speakers of English – people Americans can understand and with whom they can identify.
NEAL GENDLER Minneapolis, Minnesota
Won’t turn blue
Sir, – Maurice Ostroff’s masterly challenge to Judge Richard Goldstone’s fellow commission members – whose proven anti-Israel bias led to a report that probably did more damage to Israel than anything else in its history – deserves a response (“To the remaining members of the UN fact-finding mission on Gaza,” Comment & Features, April 24).
But I am not holding my breath.
Hina Jilani, Christine Chinkin and Desmond Travers were all on record, before the Goldstone Commission heard a shred of evidence, as saying Israel was guilty of war crimes. Sadly, the UN and other agencies have a long record of choosing anti-Israel representatives to sit in judgement of Israel. The Goldstone Commission was a prime example.
Israel or not
Sir, – Last month, Ray Hanania wrote that the reason there was no uprising in Syria was that Bashar Assad was a leader in the fight against Israel (“Freedom, democracy and ulterior motives,” Yalla Peace, March 2). But events since then have proved just how wrong that is (“Over 100 killed as ‘Great Friday’ turns into Syria’s bloodiest weekend,” April 24).
Assad is no less anti-Israel now than he was before the demonstrations rocking his country began.
Indeed, one of the most telling characteristics of the protests is that they intensified after a speech in which Assad accused Israel of fomenting the unrest.
The Syrians’ initial hesitation to oppose their government was not a statement in support of the Palestinians, but a decision to protect their own lives from the wholly predictable response from Assad’s troops.
Hanania, like so many other long-distance commentators, looks at the Middle East almost exclusively through the Israeli-Palestinian prism. Recent events show how little a part of the regional puzzle this dispute really plays.
Zichron Ya’acov
Show them hospitals
Sir, – I read with great interest the interview with Oren Helman (“The voice of Israel,” Pessah Supplement, April 18). His plan to show journalists the Israel beyond the conflict is – if anything – counterproductive.
The natural tendency of people is to sympathize with the underdog, the poor, the victims. The Palestinians have played this card very effectively and Israel must counter this perception.
Rather than offering, as Helman proposes, “various tours to expose journalists to the country’s dynamic economy and technological innovations,” let us show them our hospitals. Here they will see Arab and Jewish doctors, nurses and staff working side by side for all patients, irrespective of religious or ethnic origin. I personally experienced this when I was a patient at Kfar Saba’s Meir Hospital, where the doctor who admitted me was an Arab, the head nurse in my ward was a Muslim, and the man cleaning the floor wore a kippa.
Let them see our universities, where equal education is given to all, or perhaps visit the WIZO daycare center in Jaffa where Jewish, Muslim and Christian toddlers learn about the “other” – a positive contribution to coexistence.
Helman’s proposal to show off how clever and successful we are will only result in more hatred toward Israel. The world is well aware of our success in hi-tech but knows very little, if anything, about how we care for all our citizens. It is this we must project if we are to succeed in reversing the hateful poison disseminated worldwide.
Herzliya Pituah
Heartfelt thanks
Sir, – It is with great emotion that I write this letter on behalf of the family of Daniel Viflic, the 16- year-old boy who succumbed to wounds incurred when his school bus was hit by a missile launched from the Gaza Strip.
To those who came to visit and to all of the individuals and communities around the world that prayed for Daniel, we thank you. Most of you we do not know – which makes your kindness and support even more important to us.
Daniel touched our lives and so have you all. On behalf of the Viflic, Rozental, Pinchuk and Layden families, in our darkest hour we felt you were with us.
Sydney, Australia