Recent official statements by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have unilaterally condemned Israel for its military action against the Palestinian terror infrastructure in Jenin at the beginning of July 2023.
UN Secretary-General Guterres stated: “Israeli airstrikes and ground operations in a crowded refugee camp were the worst violence in the West Bank in many years, with a significant impact on civilians.” He called on Israel to “abide by its obligations under international law, including the duty to exercise restraint and use only proportional force.”1
Other UN spokespersons echoed the condemnation: “We are alarmed at the scale of air and ground operations that are taking place in Jenin in the occupied West Bank, and air strikes hitting a densely populated refugee camp.”2
In a similar vein, so-called “High” Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Josip Borrel, echoed this one-sided condemnation, stating: “In Jenin, an Israeli military operation against militants, involving the largest-scale airstrikes on the city in decades, has left at least ten Palestinians dead and dozens injured.”
The EU’s representative to the Palestinian territories, Sven Kuehn von Burgsdorff, outspoken for his frequent hostility to Israel, added his own expression of condemnation regarding the level of force employed in what he described as a “deadly raid this week on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.”3
Aliens landing on Earth from the moon would indeed be struck by amazement and disbelief upon hearing such one-sided condemnations. They would immediately imagine in their mind’s-eye Israel’s forces, one sunny July morning, deciding, for no apparent reason and out of the blue, to willfully, cruelly, and disproportionally attack a sleepy refugee camp in the town of Jenin while the camp’s innocent and peace-loving residents rest in their tents.
How have the UN, the EU, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and others, such as U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn), in a particular nasty tweet, wholly bought into and repeated and deliberately false and misleading Palestinian propaganda?4
Our alien visitors from the moon would have no idea that Palestinian terrorists have turned what they have been given to perceive as such a sleepy refugee camp into an armed, aggressive, and fanatic fortress.
They would not imagine a scenario in which explosives are implanted under the roads, where weapons and ammunition are stored in hospitals, clinics, mosques, civilian infrastructures, and many private residences.5
Contrary to the peaceful and calm ambience portrayed in Jenin, terrorists burrowed and built a 300-meter tunnel under the local mosque to store weapons and produce thousands of lethal weapons in workshops under the supposedly innocent refugee camp.
For the UN spokespersons, there was willful denial that an ostensibly quiet and peaceful refugee camp could serve as the nerve center, shelter, refuge, and exit point for countless cruel acts of terror committed by residents of the camp against Israelis over the years.
As stated by Israel’s military spokesperson, the objective of the July military operation was “to undermine terrorist infrastructure, target militants, arrest wanted individuals, and dismantle command centers and weapons labs” and, in so doing, “to undermine Jenin’s status as a haven for terrorists.”6
Given the fantastic accusations of Israel’s committing a “massacre,” with hundreds of casualties, the United Nations could not admit that the Israeli operation was so surgically carried out as to avoid such a large number of casualties. They would not believe that the action was directed against weapons production workshops and other facilities, operational, offensive headquarters, and weapons armories, and terrorists who had failed to flee to protect themselves.
The UN’s Guterres, the EU’s Borrel, and the international Red Cross have called upon Israel to respect “obligations under international law, including the duty to exercise restraint and use only proportional force.” Others wildly took the opportunity to accuse Israel of carrying out war crimes.
But such accusations and calls display either utter ignorance or deliberate disregard of international law and practice requirements, which expressly prohibit the use of civilian areas, especially refugee camps, as centers of terror and violence. Such rules of international law provide that such civilian areas may even lose their privileged protection if they are used for offensive, military purposes of terror and war, and as such, become legitimate military objectives. Such rules provide Israel with the prerogative to use the requisite and proportionate force needed to neutralize the military threat emanating from them.7
Numerous international counter-terror conventions and UN Security Council resolutions condemning terror also require states to act decisively to prevent terror, cooperate with and finance terror, and encourage, incite, and support acts of terror.
Terrorism in International Law and Practice
International law and practice outlaw the use of terror for any reason or justification. This is confirmed in several resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council, especially following the September 11, 2001, attacks against the United States.8
In its Resolution 1269 (1999), the Council stated in the first operative paragraph:
Unequivocally condemns all acts, methods, and practices of terrorism as criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, in all their forms and manifestations, wherever and by whoever committed, in particular those which could threaten international peace and security.9
More specifically, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1566, dated October 2004, passed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter:
Condemns in the strongest terms all acts of terrorism irrespective of their motivation, whenever and by whomsoever committed, as one of the most serious threats to peace and security.
[C]riminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act, which constitutes offenses within the scope of and as defined in the international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism, are under no circumstances justifiable by considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other similar nature.10
At least 16 international conventions and protocols have been adopted by the United Nations between 1963 and the present day, criminalizing all aspects of international terror, including significant landmark resolutions of the UN General Assembly. Together they represent the clear consensus of the international community in outlawing all forms of terror.11
Similarly, in this context, the operative provisions of the unanimously supported 1994 “UN Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism” unequivocally condemn and criminalize all forms of terror.12
In addition to the multinational instruments outlawing terror, there is an extensive series of regional counter-terror conventions encompassing the African Union, OAS, ASEAN, CIS, SHARC, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Council of Europe, EU Action Plan, Arab League, and the Organization of Islamic Conference.13
Why do the UN, EU, the Red Cross, and others overlook Israel’s prerogative as a sovereign and equal member of the international community to defend itself against the deadliest forms of terror emanating from the various Palestinian terror organizations, whose sole purpose is dedicated to killing Israelis?
One may wonder why the leading international bodies in the international community continue to disregard and minimize Palestinian terror while deliberately overlooking their declared penchant for killing Israelis.
The calls upon Israel to exert “restraint and proportional force” are curious, at the least. How does Israel exert “proportionate force” to deal with explosive devices planted beneath roads or weapons and bombs produced in laboratories and stored under mosques?
Similarly, how do principles of “restraint and proportionality” deal with responding to the dispatching of hundreds of terrorists to kill Israelis?
Those preaching for restraint and proportionality in such a violent and pure terror ambiance have no idea what they are talking about. They have merely chosen to arbitrarily adopt a false propaganda narrative directed against Israel to match their pre-existing inclination to condemn Israel for defending itself.
Israel’s need to defend itself against those intent on killing its citizens is a right of self-defense to be viewed in the light of objective facts and criteria and not by a series of politically-motivated international kangaroo courts and biased leaders that automatically flaunt their hostility to Israel whenever Israel is obliged to defend itself.
Such hypocrisy and double standards damage the credibility of such bodies and place in question the selective and biased reliance by such bodies and leaders on international law. As such, they achieve nothing but to encourage and pay no heed to the Palestinian terror apparatus, supported by Iran, and encourage it to continue to harm Israel, knowing that the international community could not care less.
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“UN chief Guterres condemns Israel’s raid on Jenin refugee camp,” https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/7/7/un-chief-guterres-condemns-israels-raid-on-jenin-refugee-camp “The UN refuses to retract its condemnation of Israel over the Jenin military operation” https://apnews.com/article/un- guterres-israel-palestinians-jenin-condemnation-force-2ba74afe49053453005c2b3e337a92cd “UN condemns Israel’s use of excessive force in attack on Palestine – Secretary general António Guterres calls on Israel to abide by international law after its attack on Jenin in the West Bank”
“Israel/Palestine: Statement by the High Representative on the ongoing escalation of violence” https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/israelpalestine-statement-high-representative-ongoing-escalation-violence_en↩︎
EU condemns Israel over excessive force used in Jenin raid” https://www.thenationalnews.com/mena/2023/07/08/eu-condemns-israel-over-excessive-force-used-in-jenin- raid/↩︎
“Netanyahu is now openly promising to “crush” Palestinian hopes for statehood, days after the Jenin massacre.” https://twitter.com/IlhanMN/status/1676658556760629261↩︎
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-66095622 BBC quoting Israel’s military spokesman: “…bulldozers had dug up about 2km (1.2 miles) of roads inside the camp along which militants had concealed explosive devices, putting civilians and troops at risk.”↩︎
https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/en/ihl-treaties/api-1977 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977 see articles 28, 53↩︎
See UN Security Council Resolutions 1267 (1999) of October 15, 1999, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/un/5110.htm; 1373 (2001) of September 28, 2001, http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/392A001F254B4B9085256B4B00708233;1540 (2004) of April 28, 2004, http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Documents/1540.pdf; as well as its other resolutions concerning threats to international peace and security caused by terrorism.↩︎
UN Security Council Resolution 1566 (2004) of October 8, 2004, http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/un/66959.htm↩︎
“(Inter-) Regional Action against Terrorism,” UN Office on Drugs and Crime, https://www.unodc.org/tldb/en/regional_instruments.html↩︎