In 2022, the UN passed 15 resolutions against Israel and only 13 against the rest of the world. Unlike the majority of the state members of the UN, Hungary voted ‘no’ to most of the resolutions that condemned the Jewish State.
In 2022, the United Nations General Assembly unfairly singled out Israel—the only democratic state in the Middle East—in its resolutions, more so than any other country in the world. This year the UN, initially created to protect human rights and peace, passed 15 resolutions against Israel and only 13 against the rest of the world including only one resolution each to condemn Iran, Syria, North Korea, Myanmar, the U.S. for its embargo on Cuba, and six resolutions related to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Unlike most UN member states, Hungary voted against most resolutions that condemned the Jewish State. [i]
The often one-sided resolutions that were mostly proposed by Arab countries were created to demonize Israel by calling it the ‘occupier state of the Palestinian territory.’ The bias against Israel is reflected, for instance, in the resolution documents often referring to the Temple Mount—the holiest site for Jews and the third most sacred site of Muslims—only in its Arabic name, Haram al-Shari, and in the fact that they solely accuse Israel of the Israeli-Palestine conflict. [ii]
The latest resolution titled ‘Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem’ was approved by a majority of 87 UN member states, with 26 votes against, including that of Hungary, and 53 abstentions. It calls for the International Court of Justice based in Hague to ‘render urgently an advisory opinion’ on Israel’s ‘prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory’. According to the United Nations Watch, a leading NGO at the UN in the struggle against antisemitism and anti-Israel bias campaigns, [iii] the resolution ‘ignores the terror attacks against Israeli civilians, negates the numerous deadly attacks that have occurred in Israeli cities and seeks to strip Israel of its inherent right to self-defence by classifying every defensive measure as a violation of international law.’ After the draft resolution was passed in November 2022, former Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid slammed the motion by saying: ‘It will not change the reality on the ground, nor will it help the Palestinian people in any way; it may even result in an escalation. Supporting this move is a prize for the terrorist organizations and the campaign against Israel.’ [iv] When in December the resolution was adopted at the UNGA, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to it by saying the following: ‘The Jewish people are not occupiers in their own land nor occupiers in our eternal capital Jerusalem and no UN resolution can distort that historical truth’ and ‘Israel was not bound by the despicable decision’. [v]
The Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, couldn’t show up at the voting of the mentioned latest UNGA resolution as the vote took place on Shabbat;
therefore the US representative voted against the resolution on behalf of Israel. After the voting result, Erdan stated the following: ‘No international body can decide that the Jewish people are “occupiers” in their own homeland. Any decision from a judicial body that receives its mandate from the morally bankrupt and politicized UN is completely illegitimate. The Palestinians have rejected every peace initiative while supporting and inciting terror. Instead of pushing the Palestinians to change, the UN is doing the opposite: helping them to harm the only vibrant democracy in the Middle East.’ The decision to hold a vote that deals with Israel on Shabbat is another example of the moral decay of the UN, which prevents Israel’s position from being heard in a vote whose results are predetermined,’ he added.
The resolution was praised by the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terrorist organization that controls Gaza. Their hypocritical comment stated that ‘it was an important step as now Israel is being held accountable for its ongoing crimes against our people and in confining and isolating the state of occupation (Israel).’ Since 2000, the Hamas and the Palestinian leadership have been responsible for more than 1405 Israeli deaths, for which they still haven’t been held accountable by the UN. [vi] In 2018, the United States proposed a resolution to condemn Hamas and other militant groups that are ‘repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk’ and the proposal was supported by the majority of UN member states, and yet it was eventually not adopted. [vii]
The ICJ has two primary roles: adjudicating disputes between two states; and providing advisory opinions to UN bodies. When the last UN resolution asked for the ICJ’s opinion in 2004, the Court ruled against Israel and stated that ‘Israel’s wall in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem’ was ‘illegal’ and called upon Israel ‘to remove the barrier and compensate those damaged by its initial construction’. [viii] After the ruling, Israeli officials insisted that they would not accept the court’s ruling, as the security barrier provided vital security against Palestinian suicide bombers. They argued it had already saved hundreds of lives since building work began.[ix] The security fence or the so-called ‘Separation Barrier’ was built under the Second Intifada in June 2002 after the 2002 March terror attack, in which 139 Israeli citizens were murdered. While for the Israelis, the wall means security from the Palestinian terror groups, the Palestinian leadership managed to create a political argument that the wall was ‘Israel’s move to delineate permanent borderlines and gain hold of Palestinian lands.’ While the Israeli Defence Forces have to obey a strict ethical code that requires them to do anything they can to prevent harming Palestinian citizens when they fight back terror[x] , the Palestinian terror groups do everything in their power to harm Israeli citizens. However, the Palestinian Authority managed to create the anti-Israeli narrative that Israel shapes the opinion of the international community and portray the Palestinian Authority and Hamas as the victims of the conflict. Ever since the security fence was built, it has been the primary target of anti-Israeli criticism worldwide. [xi]
The UN has a long history of passing resolutions against Israel.
As mentioned above, the United Nations in 1945 was created to ensure ‘international peace and human rights for all’; however, soon, it started to serve interests over justice. As the UN Watch summarized in its video: ‘Since the 1970s, the Arab states turned the UN against Israel to weaken the support of the legitimacy of the Jewish state in the international community’. [xii] In 2001 and then in 2009, the United Nations held the ‘World Conference against Racism’ known as the Durban I and Durban II Conferences, which instead of condemning all forms of racism, became forums to demonize the Jewish State and its people. The conferences that were backed by some of the world’s worst human rights abusers like Iran and Al-Qaddafi’s Libya tried to have Zionism defined as a form of racism, and the Jewish State as the oppressors of Palestinians, and gave a platform to the Iranian Leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to deny the Holocaust. First, Israel and the US withdrew and boycotted the conferences and in 2021, on the 20th anniversary of the first Durban conference, 38 countries, including Hungary and other European countries, boycotted the anti-Semitic forum.[xiii]
Unfortunately, when it comes to condemning Israel at the UN General Assembly, the legacy of the Durban conferences still lives on; in fact, just a few UN member states stand up against the unjust resolutions. In just the two previous years, the UN’s unjust treatment of Israel can clearly be seen: in 2021, there were 14 resolutions against Israel and only five against the rest of the world, [xiv] and in 2020, there were 17 resolutions against Israel and six against the rest of the world.[xv]
In 2017, at the UN Human Rights Council debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the speech of Mosab Hassan Yousef—often called as the ‘Son of Hamas’ as his father was one of the founders of the Hamas—on behalf of UN Watch went viral. Mosab Hassan Yousef reacted to the pro-Palestinian claims against Israel by saying: ‘I grew up in Ramallah as a member of Hamas. I address my words to the Palestinian Authority, which claims to be the ‘sole legitimate representative’ of the Palestinian people. I ask: where does your legitimacy come from? The Palestinian people did not elect you, and they did not appoint you to represent them. You are self-appointed. Your accountability is not to your own people. This is evidenced by your total violation of their human rights. In fact, the Palestinian individual and their human development is the least of your concerns. You kidnap Palestinian students from campus and torture them in your jails. You torture your political rivals. The suffering of the Palestinian people is the outcome of your selfish political interests. You are the greatest enemy of the Palestinian people. If Israel did not exist, you would have no one to blame. Take responsibility for the outcome of your own actions. You fan the flames of conflict to maintain your abusive power. Finally, you use this platform to mislead the international community, and to mislead Palestinian society, to believe that Israel is responsible for the problems you create’. [xvi]
At the end of last year, in December, the UNGA passed the pro-Palestinian resolution to commemorate the 75th year of the ‘Nakba’—meaning ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic—in May 2023.
The 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish State will thus be mourned by a high-profile pro-Palestinian event in the UN General Assembly’s Hall.
It is worth remembering that in 1947, the General Assembly called for an independent Jewish and Arab State in the ‘British-controlled mandatory of Palestine’ that was accepted by the Jewish representative but rejected by the leader of the Palestinian Arabs Mufti Hajj Amin Husseini, and the Arab world started the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. [xvii] Since 1947, the Palestinian leaders have continually denied the legitimacy of the Jewish State and rejected all peace treaties. The successor of the Mufti, Yasser Arafat, continued to deny the existence of the State of Israel. In 1979, when Anwar Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel, Arafat called on the Arab League to boycott Cairo and ban Egyptian goods. Arafat didn’t just refuse Israel’s offers at the Oslo Accords ‘Peace Process’ that only required from Arafat to ‘end the conflict’ but started another wave of terror with the al-Aqsa Intifada in which Palestinian terrorists murdered 1,184 Israelis. In 2005, when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon evacuated Israeli villages from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank as a gesture to achieve peace, the Palestinian leadership empowered Iranian-backed terrorist organizations, and soon Hamas took over the leadership of the Gaza Strip. [xviii] Ever since Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, thousands of rockets have been fired by Hamas, killing Israeli civilians. Only in 2022, 1115 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip. The current leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who will be serving his 19th year of a 4-year term in 2023, continued his predecessor’s heritage and refused both the 2008 peace plan offered to him by Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and the 2019 ’Deal of the Century’ peace plan before he has even seen them. [xix]
In 2022, the UN, again, instead of blaming the Palestinian Authority and Hamas for the suffering of Palestinian and Israeli civilians, blamed Israel solely as the occupier and the preventer of peace. The ‘Nakba’ commemoration resolution was adopted among other one-sided resolutions about the ‘question of Palestine’ of which the ‘sole purpose is to put all the blame for what is happening in the Middle East solely on Israel while absolving the Palestinians of any responsibility’, as the Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan stated. Among the thirty member states that voted against the proposal, Hungary also made it clear that the 75th Independence Day of the Jewish State should be celebrated and not mourned as a ‘disaster’.
[i] UN Watch, ‘2022 UNGA Resolutions on Israel vs. Rest of the World’, UN Watch, (14 November 2022), https://unwatch.org/2022-2023-unga-resolutions-on-israel-vs-rest-of-the-world/, accessed 2 January 2023.
[ii] Luke Tress, ‘UN asks world court to weigh in on Israeli ‘occupation’ and ‘annexation’, The Times of Israel, (31 December 2022), https://www.timesofisrael.com/un-passes-resolution-asking-world-court-to-weigh-in-on-israeli-palestinian-conflict/ , accessed 2 January 2023.
[iii] UN Watch, ‘Mission and History’, UN Watch, https://unwatch.org/about-us/mission-history/ , accessed 2 January 2023.
[iv] Jonathan Shamir, ‘Israel’s Occupation and the International Court of Justice: What Happens Next?’, Haaretz, (15 November 2022), https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2022-11-15/ty-article/.premium/israels-occupation-and-the-international-court-of-justice-what-happens-next/00000184-7b5c-d6bd-a9fc-7bdf23260000, accessed 3 January 2023.
[v]Maayan Lubell and Ali Sawafta, ‘Netanyahu says Israel not bound by ‘despicable’ U.N. vote’, Reuters, (31 December 2022), https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/un-vote-israels-occupation-a-victory-palestinians-say-2022-12-31/, accessed 3 January 2023.
[vi] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Victims of Palestinian Violence and Terrorism since September 2000’, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (10 December 2022), https://www.gov.il/en/departments/general/victims-of-palestinian-violence-and-terrorism, accessed 4 January 2023.
[vii] United Nations, ‘US resolution to condemn activities of Hamas voted down in General Assembly’, UN News, (6 December 2018), https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/12/1027881, accessed 4 January 2023.
[viii] Aaron Kalman, ‘ICJ treatment of Israel biased, as seen in Syria’, The Times of Israel, (25 September 2013), https://www.timesofisrael.com/icj-treatment-of-israel-biased-as-seen-in-syria/, accessed 4 January 2023.
[ix] Matthew Taylor, ‘International court rules against Israel’s wall’, The Guardian, (9 July 2004), https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/jul/09/israelandthepalestinians.unitednations , accessed 4 January 2023.
[x] Conflict Education Toolkit Resource Library, ‘The IDF Code of Ethics’, Conflict Education Toolkit Resource Library, https://toolkit.theicenter.org/content/idf-code-ethics/index.html, accessed 4 January 2023.
[xi] Al-Monitor, ‘Israeli Security Fence Architect: Why The Barrier Had to Be Built’, Al-Monitor, (1 July 2012), https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2012/al-monitor/israeli-security-fence-architect.html , accessed 4 January 2023.
[xii] UN Watch, ‘Three Decades of Fighting for Truth at the United Nations’, Youtube, (2022), https://youtu.be/IDPMY9xv3v4 , accessed 4 January 2023.
[xiii] World Jewish Congress, ‘Countering anti-Israel bias at the Durban Conference’, World Jewish Congress, https://www.worldjewishcongress.org/en/durban-conference , accessed 4 January 2023.
[xiv] UN Watch, ‘2021-2022 UNGA Resolutions on Israel vs. Rest of the World’, UN Watch, (29 November 2021), https://unwatch.org/2021-2022-unga-resolutions-on-israel-vs-rest-of-the-world/ , accessed 4 January 2023.
[xv] Toi Staff, ‘2021-2022 UNGA Resolutions on Israel vs. Rest of the World’, The Times of Israel, (23 December 2020), https://www.timesofisrael.com/un-condemned-israel-17-times-in-2020-versus-6-times-for-rest-of-world-combined/ , accessed 4 January 2023.
[xvi] UN Watch, ‘Shocked U.N. Delegates as PLO Abuses Exposed by Palestinian Hero’, Youtube, (2018), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2NaiX-hvVQ , accessed 4 January 2023.
[xvii] Luke Tress, ‘UN General Assembly votes in favor of commemorating Palestinian ‘Nakba’, The Times of Israel, (1 December 2022), https://www.timesofisrael.com/un-general-assembly-votes-in-favor-of-commemorating-palestinian-nakba/ , accessed 4 January 2023.
[xviii] Dr. Edi Cohen, ‘A Short History of Palestinian Rejectionism’, BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,449, (16 February 2020), https://besacenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/1449-A-Short-History-of-Palestinian-Rejectionism-Cohen-final.pdf , accessed 4 January 2023.
[xix] Jewish Virtual Library, ‘Rocket & Mortar Attacks Against Israel by Date’, Jewish Virtual Library, https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/palestinian-rocket-and-mortar-attacks-against-israel#2022 , accessed 4 January 2023.