An Historical Opportunity for Justice / Ben Dror Yemini

An OPEN letter to the members of the


The proponents of justice around the world ­– in the hopes that such a thing still exists – harbor no hope that anything good will come out of your committee. After all, the committee was established by the UN Human Rights Council, which has distinguished itself by its special hostility towards Israel. But despite that, allow me to deviate from the line. Permit me to believe that facts influence honorable people. And if there is among you an honorable person – here is a historic opportunity to rise above the dictates of the Human Right Council's political majority, a majority that includes representatives of unenlightened countries that repress human rights.

Esteemed committee members, don’t believe Israel’s official spokesmen. They are evasive. They are hesitant. They know that no serious claim of theirs will be accepted. And you should know that they, too, are having trouble presenting the truth as it is. Israel, contrary to what you are told, did not launch an attack on Gaza because of a few Kassam missiles or because of violations of the cease fire. While that was the official – and apparently justified – reason, it wasn’t the main motive. The missiles are a serious nuisance. None of you would be prepared to live for even one minute, here in Geneva, if a certain group, three kilometers from here, were to adopt a strange custom of launching 30 missiles a day at this peaceful city. It is doubtful whether anyone here would recommend the restraint that Israel practiced for years.

And despite that, it involves a much bigger story. There is a long-standing dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. The story is well known. Israel is not devoid of mistakes. For example, the civilian settlement in Gaza, At a certain stage, Israel announced its willingness to leave the Gaza Strip. Down to the last centimeter. Down to the last Israeli. Many refused to believe that Israel would do it. It wasn’t easy, but it was done. A short time later, Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip. For some reason, the world refused to see the atrocities that were committed there. Hundreds of people were killed. Others were kept in detention. A reign of terror fell over Gaza. Even the Christian minority was persecuted. Iranian style modesty police began to roam the streets and the regime began to enforce Sharia law.

That’s not all, esteemed committee members. The Hamas regime is part of the radical Islamic movement. It is a regime that receives a significant part of its budget from the Ayatollahs in Iran. It is a regime whose official platform calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. It is a regime whose charter bases its approach to Jews and to Israel on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It is a regime that not only talks, it also does. For many years, Hamas has been methodically murdering innocent Jews. It is a regime whose spokesmen preach the annihilation of Jews in the schools and the mosques.

Even that is not all of it. Many people have trouble with the facts, esteemed committee members. Blindness has always been a convenient refuge. Because the Hamas spokesmen do not suffice with Jews or the State of Israel. They declare openly that their objective is also Europe. The world has already been through the experience of blindness. Jews have already paid a very steep price for that. No more.

With that background, would Israel be permitted to launch an attack on Gaza? It is worth examining what the representatives of the democratic countries did in such a situation. First, European countries sent many troops to remote Afghanistan. Why? Because it is home to a radical Islamic group, the Taliban, that threatened to take over the country. Many in Afghanistan, perhaps the majority, support that group. The Taliban are not launching missiles at Geneva or Brussels. The Taliban are not threatening to destroy Europe. But despite that, countries in the West saw fit to go there, to fight in a foreign country, in order to stop the danger of radical Islam. And in the midst of that struggle, thousands of innocents are killed. Read the UN Secretary General’s last report on the matter.

Why didn’t anyone open an investigation on the civilian casualties or the war crimes that were committed? Because most of the free world thinks that it’s a justified fight. The Taliban are a danger, maybe even a regional and worldwide danger, that is threatening to spread. If that is the case, maybe you, esteemed committee members, can explain to us, why the struggle against Hamas is less justified than the fight against the Taliban? After all, the threat to Israel was a lot greater. The statements about the destruction of Israel appear in the official charter, as well as the fact that it is based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Hamas has made it clear that it is operating under Iranian patronage, and it identifies with the Taliban. So why is Israel supposed to react differently from the way the free world reacts to the Taliban?

Does it justify the curfew and the blows suffered by the residents of Gaza? Israel has no desire to harm one hair on the head of a single child in Gaza. But we remind you of what happened in Central Europe in the previous decade in the fight against the regime headed by Milosevits: hundreds of innocent civilians were killed in dozens of bombings. It wasn’t intentional. It happened in the course of the justified fight against aggression. Milosevits did not threaten to destroy Europe. It was an internal matter. In the case of Hamas, the threat is far more serious. Both the intention to destroy Israel and the declarations of world jihad and taking control of Europe. If you need proof, don’t hesitate. I’ll give you the evidence.

Among you, esteemed committee members, sits Hina Jilani, a representative of Pakistan. This country also has a similar problem. Esteemed madam representative, tell them what has been happening there in the past few months. Tell them about a small radical Islamic group that has been trying to take over the country. Tell them what means the Pakistani army has employed. Tell them that it has produced between two and three million refugees. Tell them about whole villages that were blown up, despite the fact that most of their residents were innocent civilians. Tell them what a member of their parliament, Marvi Memon, said when explaining the atrocity: “It’s either them or us.” So simple and so true. And in any case, what Israel did was far more modest and moderate than what Pakistan did. Now, esteemed lady, tell us why Pakistan has the right to defend itself, even with harsh measures, but Israel does not.

In all the following cases there is one common denominator: innocent people are unavoidably hurt. That is regrettable, but the Taliban or Hamas or Al Qaeda fighters are not entitled to immunity just because they hide behind the civilian population. Yes, caution is called for. But is what Israel did in Gaza different from what Europe did in Serbia or what NATO did in Afghanistan or what Pakistan is doing in its own territory? Is there a different justice for Israel than for the rest of the world?

To remind you, esteemed committee members, just a few weeks ago, with a majority of 29 voting for and 12 voting against, the council that appointed you lauded Sri Lanka following its fight against the Tamil rebels. That was a problematic, even surprising, decision. Twenty thousand innocent people were killed in just a few weeks of war. Three hundred thousand people became refugees. That happened after the events in Gaza, Now, in the position of judges, will you establish a different law for Israel?

In the last few weeks, many witnesses have appeared before you who have proved that many innocent people were hurt. There was no need for that parade. Innocent people were, indeed, hurt. But Israel was not to blame. They were hurt because they chose to subjugate themselves to the reign of terror by Hamas. They were hurt because they gave shelter to Hamas operatives. They were hurt because Hamas used them, sometimes forcibly. In any case, fewer innocent people were hurt by Israel than in any similar conflict in the world, even if democratic countries were involved. Is there a different standard for Israel than there is for NATO? Is there a different standard for Israel than there is for Sri Lanka, Pakistan or the United States?

As you know, Israel is prepared to declare an immediate halt to all operations, and to announce a cease fire and to end the curfew – under one condition: that Hamas renounce its anti-Semitic charter and its call for the destruction of Israel. As long as Hamas proves that it is not only calling for Israel’s destruction, but is also trying to implement it – no one in the world has the right to restrict Israel’s acts of self-defense, even if, in that fight, not only terrorists, but also innocent people are, unfortunately, hurt. In any event, when someone finally finds a method, in Afghanistan or in Europe, in Algeria or in Pakistan, to hurt only the terrorists – without harming innocent people – Israel undertakes to be the first to adopt it.

Esteemed committee members who are now serving as an investigations committee, in the position of judges in an international tribunal, you now have the historic opportunity to right the wrong. You have the opportunity to give real meaning to international justice. No longer an ugly political tool but rather an instrument of fairness.

Do not miss this opportunity.

Ben-Dror Yemini: [email protected]

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters (without spaces) shown in the image.