Not all children are equal: UN ignores Jewish Israeli child victims

December 23, 2002

CONTENTS

1. "When the victims are Jews, UN practice is quite different"
2. "Gentleman's agreement at the UN" (Globe and Mail, Canada, Dec. 23, 2002)
3. "Children of Israel to learn the lessons of war" (London Times, Dec. 23, 2002)
4. "Jewish, Arab children use soccer to promote peace, coexistence" (AP, Dec. 7, 2002)
5. "Israel's 'home' soccer games moved to Britain because of security concerns" (AP, Dec. 2002)



[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach four articles. The first two, from today's Canadian and British press, relate to Israeli and Palestinian children. The last two, from earlier this month, also relate in part to Israeli and Palestinian children, but concern soccer (football).

 

SUMMARIES

“WHEN THE VICTIMS ARE JEWS, UN PRACTICE IS QUITE DIFFERENT”

1. "Gentleman's agreement at the UN" (Globe and Mail (Canada), December 23, 2002). Lawyer Anne Bayefsky argues that "this year's UN General Assembly, which ended on Friday, marked a new low in United Nations bias against Jews and the Jewish state. The three resolutions passed in its final days are a disturbing commentary ... in theory, the UN Charter proclaims the equality ... when the [child] victims are Jews or the Jewish state, UN practice is quite different."

(TG adds In this context, it should be noted that a higher proportion of Israeli children, on a per capita basis relating to the percentage of children who make up the Israeli population, have been killed or injured as a result of Palestinian-Israeli violence since Sept 2000, than Palestinian children. When it comes to deliberately attacking children, many such Israeli youngsters have been deliberately attacked at pizzerias, ice cream parlors, bat mitzvah celebrations and the like, whereas no groups of Palestinian children have been deliberately attacked. The average age of the Israeli population is 41, due in part to the increased age of many recent Russian immigrants. The average age of the Palestinian population is now less than 14, due in part to a much-reduced infant mortality rate resulting from the great improvements made in healthcare in Gaza and the West Bank by the Israeli authorities when they administered these territories.)

2. "Children of Israel to learn the lessons of war" (London Times, December 23, 2002). "Gas mask lessons for children are due to start within a week at Israeli schools... amid fears that Baghdad will launch biological or chemical weapons." Brigadier-General Ruth Yaron, a military spokeswoman, said that Israel would have only three minutes' warning of a missile attack, but that would be "enough time."

3. "Jewish, Arab children use soccer to promote peace, coexistence" (AP, Dec. 7, 2002). Hapoel Tel Aviv, one of Israel's leading soccer teams, invites 7,000 Jewish and Arab children from 200 towns and villages to make a rare show of solidarity amid two years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting that has claimed more than 2,500 lives.

4. "Israel's 'home' soccer games moved to Britain because of security concerns" (AP). Israel's soccer team will play at least two "home" matches in the Euro 2004 qualifying round in Britain (probably at Watford's Vicarage Road ground) due to security concerns and a reluctance for visiting teams to come to Israel.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

WHEN IT COMES TO THE JEWISH STATE, UN EQUALITY GOES OUT THE DOOR

Gentleman's agreement at the UN
When it comes to Jews or the Jewish state, UN Charter equality goes out the door, says lawyer Anne Bayefsky
Globe and Mail (Canada)
December 23, 2002

This year's General Assembly, which ended on Friday, marked a new low in United Nations bias against Jews and the Jewish state. The three resolutions passed in its final days are a disturbing commentary.

On Wednesday, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on Palestinian children. This brings the number of resolutions on the human rights of children to three: one on the rights of the child, one on the "girl child," and one on Palestinian children the only children in the world subject to the specific concern of a General Assembly resolution.

With its automatic majority on the Palestinian side of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the General Assembly is able to generate large numbers of resolutions critical only of Israel. The resolution focusing only on Palestinian children, however, is a historic first, and it increases the number of General Assembly resolutions directed annually at Israel to 20. Human-rights situations in the rest of the world drew only six country-specific resolutions this year. There were no resolutions on human rights in such countries as Syria, Saudi Arabia or China.

The draft version of the resolution on Palestinian children was adopted on Nov. 15 by the General Assembly's Third Committee (which deals with social, cultural and humanitarian affairs), in the same week that a Palestinian gunman broke into a home on an Israeli kibbutz and shot to death two children Noam, 4, and Matan, 5 while their mother, Revital Ohayon, tried to hide them under her body. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, linked to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility.

In the past two years, Palestinian terrorists have repeatedly targeted Israeli children. On April 27, gunmen broke into a home west of Hebron, found five-year-old Danielle Shefi hiding under her parents' bed and shot her in the head. On May 9, 2001, Israeli students Kobi Mandell, 13, and Yossi Ish-Ran, 14, were stoned to death and their bodies mutilated in a cave south of Jerusalem. Palestinian suicide bombers have directed attacks at places where children gather, such as buses, discos and pizza parlours.

More than 100 Israeli children have been murdered and 900 wounded or maimed in the past two years alone. The General Assembly resolution, however, neither expressed concern nor made any mention of Israeli children.

Speaking on behalf of the European Union, Ellen Margrethe Loj, the Danish ambassador to the UN, apologized to the General Assembly for abstaining instead of voting in favour, saying EU states preferred resolutions on country-specific situations to be dealt with under a different agenda item. Only Israel, the United States, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau voted against the resolution. Canada abstained.

Also missing from the resolution billed to help Palestinian children:

Any reference to the Palestinian Authority's practice of encouraging Palestinian children to participate in the armed conflict, and the Palestinian media's appeal to children to glorify and emulate suicide bombers;

The endemic anti-Semitism in Palestinian children's textbooks used in schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency;

The use of Palestinian children as human shields by terrorists operating from densely populated civilian areas.

Also on Wednesday, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on racism, capping a two-month negotiation over the inclusion of the word "anti-Semitism." For the past four years, a racism resolution has included "anti-Semitism" as a specific subject of study of the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. This year, the reference to anti-Semitism as part of the rapporteur's mandate was deleted. Only the United States, Israel and Palau voted against the resolution. Canada abstained.

Ironically, the deletion was due not only to the 130 developing nations that removed "anti-Semitism" from this year's draft to begin with, but also to the EU. Behind closed doors, Arab states indicated they might accept the word's retention as a matter of specific study of the UN special rapporteur, so long as "anti-Arab" discrimination was also included. The United States and Israel had no objection, but the EU refused the same EU that claims to be protecting Arab interests against U.S. hegemony.

On Dec. 13, the Security Council passed a resolution on the Nov. 28 terrorist attacks in Kenya directed at Israelis. Those attacks involved a suicide bombing at a hotel operated by, and catering to, Israelis, and a missile attack on an Israeli civilian airplane. In the case of October's hostage-taking crisis in Moscow, the Security Council adopted a resolution condemning the terrorist attack within 24 hours. In the case of the bombing in Bali, also in October, the Security Council adopted a resolution within 48 hours. But it took the council two weeks of intensive negotiation to adopt the resolution concerning the attacks in Kenya.

The struggle behind the scenes during those two weeks occurred over references to Israel and Israeli victims. The original draft circulated by the United States, for example, read: "Condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist bomb attack against Kenyan and Israeli civilians." The final version omits the reference to "Israeli civilians" and reads, "Condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist bomb attack at the Paradise Hotel in Kikambala, Kenya, and the attempted missile attack on Arkia Israeli Airlines Flight 582."

In addition, while the Security Council resolutions on the Bali and Russian attacks urge co-operation with the Indonesian and Russian authorities in their efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice, the reference to co-operation with "Israeli authorities" was left out of the Kenya resolution.

In theory, the UN Charter proclaims the equality of all persons, and of all nations large and small. When the victims are Jews or the Jewish state, UN practice is quite different.

(Anne Bayefsky is an international lawyer and professor of political science at York University.)

 

GAS MASK LESSONS FOR ISRAELI CHILDREN TO START WITHIN A WEEK

Children of Israel to learn the lessons of war
By Stephen Farrell
The Times of London
December 23, 2002

Israel has escalated domestic preparations for a US-led war against Iraq, with gas mask lessons for children due to start within a week.

Fearing retaliatory missile strikes by President Saddam Hussein, the Jewish state is to go on high alert from January 15, two weeks in advance of the January 27 deadline for a United Nations inspectors' report to the Security Council.

Israeli soldiers are also getting ready for joint exercises with 1,000 US troops scheduled to arrive in Israel this week to conduct joint anti-missile tests.

Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, said that the gas mask exercise was being held "in preparation of any possibility of war".

For months, Israeli families have been collecting new gas masks at exchange points throughout the country, where they hand in old masks issued during the Gulf War.

Amid fears that Baghdad will launch biological or chemical weapons, Ronit Tirosh, director-general of the Education Ministry, said that teachers had received training from the Israeli military on how to deal with an attack and how to help panicky children.

"The next stage, which will start in about a week, will be to train the youth and children on how to use gas masks and to instruct them what should be done at each stage," she said.

More than 15,000 medical workers have already received smallpox vaccinations, and officials confirmed yesterday that 6,000 more Israelis would receive them in the coming weeks.

Iraq launched 39 Scud missiles against Israel in 1991, but despite Israel's usual policy of retaliation, it refrained from reprisal attacks at the behest of the US, to avoid inflaming the Arab world and damaging the anti-Baghdad coalition.

Mr Sharon's Government has made it clear that there would be no such restraint this time if Saddam unleashes unconventional warheads delivered either by missile, aircraft or pilotless drones.

But Israel has also updated its missile defences from the largely ineffective Patriot missile batteries that were used a decade ago. Israeli sources have confirmed that the military's Home Front Command, air force and other branches have been given until mid-January to finish preparations and raise levels of readiness.

The Patriot system originally designed to shoot down aircraft not missiles has now been upgraded and will work alongside two batteries of the $2billion Arrow anti-missile system, developed jointly by Israel and the US.

This is designed to intercept Scuds at a higher altitude during the estimated six-minute flying time to Israel from launchers in western Iraq, shooting them down before they even reach Israeli airspace.

One Israeli drill last week simulated the landing of missiles carrying chemical or biological materials at various sites in the country, gauging the effectiveness of nationwide watchposts to detect and report sites where missiles fell.

Brigadier-General Ruth Yaron, a military spokeswoman, said that Israel would have only three minutes' warning of a missile attack, but that would be "enough time".

 

“THE VOICE THAT COMES FROM THE STADIUM TONIGHT IS A VOICE OF COEXISTENCE”

Jewish, Arab children use soccer to promote peace, coexistence
The Associated Press
December 7, 2002

Love of soccer was a common bond for some 7,000 Jewish and Arab Israeli children who came from throughout Israel and send a message of peaceful coexistence to Israelis watching on TV.

As an added bonus: their favorite Tel Aviv team won.

The Jewish and Arab children from 200 towns and villages all players in Hapoel Tel Aviv's junior soccer league dressed in uniform red and white to make a rare show of solidarity amid two years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting that has claimed more than 2,000 lives.

"We brought the 7,000 children here tonight to march against racism, against intolerance and against violence," said Moti Orenstein, the team's chairman. "The voice that comes from the stadium tonight is a voice of coexistence."

After circling the field, the children took their seats in the stadium among some 20,000 spectators who came to watch the No. 2 ranked team, Hapoel Tel Aviv, play suburban rival Hapoel Peth Tikva.

Forty minutes into the game, Salim Towama, Hapoel Tel Aviv's only Arab player, scored the first of the team's two goals sending the crowd, especially the children, into pandemonium. Tel Aviv won the game 2-1.

"Soccer is the best thing because it allows coexistence between Jews and Arabs," said Sultan Nabari, 25, an Israeli Arab from Kfar Hura, who is an umpire in the junior league. "Sport is against violence and if you bring the Jews and Arabs together and on the same team it fosters coexistence because they have nothing to fight about."

After the game, Towama said he felt soccer brings peoplestogether. "I hope that it will happen outside of soccer and that there will be quiet here," he added.

"I play with Jews and Arabs it's not a problem," said Aboudi Karsoun, a 15-year-old Israeli Arab from Kfar Kassem.

 

ISRAEL'S “HOME” SOCCER GAMES MOVED TO BRITAIN

Israel's 'home' soccer games moved to Britain because of security concerns
The Associated Press
December 2002

Israel's soccer team will play at least two "home" matches in the Euro 2004 qualifying round in Britain due to security concerns at home.

Israeli Soccer Federation chief Gavri Levy said Israel's April 2 match against France and an April 30 contest against Cyprus would be played at Watford's Vicarage Road ground.

Levy said an agreement was reached after a meeting Tuesday with Watford officials.

Watford's official web site confirmed Wednesday that discussions had been held, but denied that a final deal had been struck. Confirmation of the move is also subject to approval of local authorities.

Israeli teams at both at national and club level have been playing international matches outside Israel in recent months due to security concerns and a reluctance for visiting teams to come to Israel.

The coach of the Israeli soccer team, Avraham Grant, said Wednesday that the team was warned a day before an Oct. 12 game against Malta that a suspected al-Qaida member had just been arrested on suspicion he was planning to carry out an attack during the game. The match was played without incident.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.