The UN Human Rights Council’s Latest Libel against Israel

March 15 2019

Much like its predecessor, the UN Commission on Human Rights, the Human Rights Council (UNHRC)—whose current member nations include Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Cuba—dedicates much if not most of its time to condemning the Jewish state for imaginary crimes. Its recent report, produced by an “independent” commission of inquiry and concerning the violence along the Gaza border, is no exception. Alan Baker writes:

The commission’s legal assessment determines that the demonstrations [at the border fence] “were civilian in nature, had clearly stated political aims and, despite some acts of significant violence, did not constitute combat or a military campaign.” As such, the commission interprets the applicable legal framework to be that of law enforcement and policing, [rather than of] “combat or a military campaign.”

In making this curious assessment and determination, the commission totally ignores both the declared and documented intentions of the organizers as well as the declarations by the Hamas leadership calling upon the demonstrators to . . . charge the border fence, hurl explosive devices toward the Israeli soldiers guarding the fence, attach explosive devices to the fence, break through and infiltrate into Israeli territory, and attack and kill Israeli residents in towns and villages in the vicinity of the fence. . . .

In making their legal assessment, and in so downplaying the illegal nature of the demonstrations, the commission is, in effect, denying Israel’s sovereign right to defend its border against armed assault and to prevent illegal and violent infiltration into its sovereign territory.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Gaza Strip, Israel & Zionism, UNHRC, United Nations

What Egypt’s Withdrawal from the “Arab NATO” Signifies for U.S. Strategy

A few weeks ago, Egypt quietly announced its withdrawal from the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a coalition—which also includes Jordan, the Gulf states, and the U.S.—founded at President Trump’s urging to serve as an “Arab NATO” that could work to contain Iran. Jonathan Ariel notes three major factors that most likely contributed to Egyptian President Sisi’s abandonment of MESA: his distrust of Donald Trump (and concern that Trump might lose the 2020 election) and of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman; Cairo’s perception that Iran does not pose a major threat to its security; and the current situation in Gaza:

Gaza . . . is ruled by Hamas, defined by its covenant as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” Sisi has ruthlessly persecuted the Brotherhood in Egypt. [But] Egypt, despite its dependence on Saudi largesse, has continued to maintain its ties with Qatar, which is under Saudi blockade over its unwillingness to toe the Saudi line regarding Iran. . . . Qatar is also supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, . . . and of course Hamas.

[Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim is one of the key “go-to guys” when the situation in Gaza gets out of hand. Qatar has provided the cash that keeps Hamas solvent, and therefore at least somewhat restrained. . . . In return, Hamas listens to Qatar, which does not want it to help the Islamic State-affiliated factions involved in an armed insurrection against Egyptian forces in northern Sinai. Egypt’s military is having a hard enough time coping with the insurgency as it is. The last thing it needs is for Hamas to be given a green light to cooperate with Islamic State forces in Sinai. . . .

Over the past decade, ever since Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power, Israel has also been gradually placing more and more chips in its still covert but growing alliance with Saudi Arabia. Egypt’s decision to pull out of MESA should give it cause to reconsider. Without Egypt, MESA has zero viability unless it is to include either U.S. forces or Israeli ones. [But] one’s chances of winning the lottery seem infinitely higher than those of MESA’s including the IDF. . . . Given that Egypt, the Arab world’s biggest and militarily most powerful state and its traditional leader, has clearly indicated its lack of confidence in the Saudi leadership, Israel should urgently reexamine its strategy in this regard.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy