Two weeks ago, Ḥagai El-Ad, director of the Israeli human-rights organization B’Tselem, appeared before the UN Security Council to urge it to force Israel out of the West Bank. Emmanuel Navon takes El-Ad to task not only for blaming the Israel-Palestinian conflict on Israel alone but for an utterly misplaced faith in the UN:
El-Ad claimed that Israel was “established through international legitimacy granted through a historic decision” by the UN in 1947. This is inaccurate. The UN General Assembly vote on November 29, 1947 was a declaratory recommendation, not a binding decision. That recommendation became moot the moment it was rejected by the Arab League. The vote . . . did not establish the state of Israel. Had the Jews not rebuilt their land for the decades preceding the vote, and did they not win the war imposed on them by six Arab armies in 1948, the state of Israel would not have been established.
What El-Ad was telling the UN, in substance, was this: you gave birth to this child, now tell him to behave. Besides being factually wrong, this statement ignores the fact that the UN of 1947 is not the UN of 2016. In 1947, the UN was composed mostly of free nations that had fought together to defeat Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. Today, the UN is an organization where Muslim states and autocracies have a numerical majority at the General Assembly, at UN agencies, and at the Human Rights Council. . . . It is the UN that has looked the other way for five years as some half-million people have been killed in Syria. . . .
That Ḥagai El-Ad would rely on such an organization to solve the intricate Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to uphold human rights is naïve at best and malicious at worse.