What is Israel trying to hide? (barring of UN fact-finding commission)


Even if the Israeli military is totally innocent of atrocities in Jenin (which I doubt), they sure are making themselves look guilty.

When a cop shows up at your house with a warrant, you can’t say “Wait, I want my friend on the police force to do the search, otherwise you’ll hold the evidence against me.” Duh! The whole point of a FACT FINDING COMMISSION is that there is no guarantee that the conclusions will come out either way. The Sharon government seems to be objecting to even the mere POSSIBILITY that any fault will be found on its part. Note: the Sharon spokespeople quoted in the article are not saying the commission has already decided to make anti-Israel conclusions…they’re just saying the commission COULD come to such a conclusion.

“No country would accept this.” Hmm… I think they would be more accurate if they said, “no country but Israel would object to this.” It is ridiculous to rule out the possibility of questioning the military personnel involved. Even the high and mighty United States would at least question its troops if there were an internationally recognized concern about conduct in war.

It is also ridiculous to insist that the commission primarily consider why the Israelis went into Jenin (suicide bombings, etc.). The question is what happened in Jenin, not what happened before. There is no doubt in the international community that suicide bombings are unacceptable atrocities. There is also no doubt that the international community cannot accept one atrocity as the pretext for another.

Israel, as represented by the Sharon cabinet, looks guilty as hell. Sharon is laughing at international law and treating both Bush and Powell like doormats.

Good GOD! If they’re not guilty, they’re paranoid!

Like this is going to HELP them?

GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY!!! Maybe that was the reason they attacked the Liberty back in the sixties.


Bwhahahaha… Ooops, sorry, couldn’t help it…

Sorry for the double post – my laptop and 28.8 modem are a little slow sometimes.

Feel free to respond to either version of this thread, I stand behind them both. However, mods should feel free to shut one down if they wish.

tclouie, can you provide cites of other countries that have accepted this?

Since the UN saws founded in 1945, there have been many, many battles bigger than the one in Jenin. In how many of those cases has the UN sent in a contingent to evaluate the morality?

Oh, yes, and don’t forget [ul][]The investigative committee lacks the expertise to do do a proper evaluation[]The UN has a history of bias against Israel. []Some of the selected investigators have a history of bias against Israel. []The group apparently intends to look for violations by one side only. Everyone knows that Israel had the power to level Jenin from the air with no losses to their personnel. They chose to do a house to house approach. As a result, many Palestinian lives were saved, at the cost of Israeli casualties.[/ul]The wisest comment I saw described the UN inspection as Bend over, here it comes again. Why in the world should Israel cooperate with a bad-faith investigation?

They aren’t trying to hide anything. They are trying to prevent a biased panel from using the opportunity to find anything at all they can blame on Israel. The Israelis are understandably skeptical when it comes to U.N. ‘fact finding’, because the U.N. has been hostile to Israel for decades. Read this article from the Globe and Mail to get a different viewpoint on the U.N. and Israel: http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/GIS.Servlets.HTMLTemplate?tf=tgam/common/FullStory.html&cf=tgam/common/FullStory.cfg&configFileLoc=tgam/config&vg=BigAdVariableGenerator&date=20020426&dateOffset=&hub=comment&title=Comment&cache_key=comment&current_row=2&start_row=2&num_rows=1

From the article:

Specifically, one of the women on this investigative panel was a head of the Red Cross, an agency that refuses to admit Israel as a member while allowing the Palestinian Authority to join. When asked why, this woman said, “If we allowed the Star of David on our vehicles, it would be like allowing the Swastika”. An especially offensive statement to Jews. And you wonder why Israel might question her objectivity?

Israel also is upset that this panel doesn’t contain any military members - a strange omission for a panel that seeks to evaluate whether or not military force was used in a proper manner. Unless, of course, that panel is nothing but a political sham that has a conclusion already in mind.

I’ve been reading a lot of accounts of the actions in Jenin, including accounts from military members that were unhappy with the amount of force used. But even their account falls far short of a ‘massacre’. The worst abuses I can find involve an order to fire into the windows of homes where gunshots had been seen, without visually determining who they were shooting at. Some soldiers were quite troubled by that, for fear of hitting innocents. Does that sound like a force bent on massacre?

In one case, they described breaking through the wall of a building to find 18 Palestinian men, women, and children inside. What did the Israelis do? They spoke to the people in Arabic, telling them that they were not targets, and they distributed candy to the children to help calm them down.

Incidentally, one reason why there is so much damage to buildings is because the Israelis originally entered Jenin by going through buildings with squads of men with sledhammers to break through walls, because the streets were heavily mined, booby trapped, and set up for deadly crossfires from hidden machine gun positions. It was on one of those missions where they broke through a wall to find a large collection of Palestinians.

They should go ahead and let them in. Dragging it out only makes it look worse unless there are more dead than the liberal estimates, then I could see why. But most are aware that there was a killing of alot of people in a rather harsh military battle of man vs. machine. Not to marginalize the dead but the actual hard body count isn’t really the crux here. Did it really change any attitudes about 9/11 as the body count went down by a couple thousand?

Moderator’s Note: Merged duplicate threads and deleted one of the duplicate OP’s.

I think it would be more accurate to say that no country which has the means to get by (strong military, for instance) would accept this.

As proven by the US refusing to ratify the treaty creating the International Criminal Court in The Hague out of concern that such a court could someday prosecute US military personnel for war crimes, for instance? Or refusing that Kissinger could be heard by a Spanish judge?

OK, try Indonesia, visited by the UN Security Council in 2000. I am citing this as a recent example of UN examination of a strong government which is a United States ally. The UN also has had commissions examining war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, but these maybe are not such good examples because they are governments that were defeated militarily or overthrown.

My OP referred to international human rights bodies in general and not just the UN, which does have a bias in favor of established governments and tends to be hardest on governments that have been safely defeated or overthrown. It is the non-governmental bodies, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and regional organizations, that do most of the investigating. Most governments do not cooperate fully, but they are respectful enough of international opinion to allow the investigators to enter. (That is, when they don’t murder the investigators, like in Indonesia and El Salvador.)

I wonder if Israel would allow an NGO commission into Jenin, or if they would also claim “bias” there. I wonder just what kind of investigating body would be acceptable, if it weren’t one that was pre-disposed to exonerate Israel.

Maybe Israel finds itself so much in dutch with the UN precisely because it has a history of ignoring Security Council resolutions. Sort of reminds me of a repeat offender who claims the police are biased against him when he keeps getting caught. The problem is Israel flouting international law, not UN “bias.”

For that matter, if the UN is so tainted with bias, why would Israel agree, even in principle, to ANY investigation under UN auspices, no matter what its composition was? The actions and statements of the Sharon cabinet smack of pure disingenuousness.

Of course it is not acceptable to covertly dispose of complaints against other countries, as cited in Sam Stone’s examples. But I thought Israel, styling itself as the “only democracy in the Middle East,” held itself to a higher standard than these other countries. What does a democracy have to fear from the truth?

clairobscur has a good point about the US not ratifying international human rights treaties, but the US is mainly against US personnel being tried by international bodies, NOT against them being tried or questioned at all. At least Lt. Calley was prosecuted for My Lai. (I agree that the US stance is hypocritical.) How can Israel refuse to even question its military personnel, as cited in my OP?

I do not agree with Sam Stone that Israeli troops were unusually careful to avoid civilian casualties. Routinely shooting to kill anyone who ventures outside for food or to hang up their laundry, blocking medical care and rescue vehicles, and destroying buildings with people in them, are indeed atrocities. Burying people in anonymous mass graves, and looting and despoiling civilian property, are also crimes. I don’t think all those witnesses are lying. (Cites at the bottom of this post.)

But if I’m wrong, why not let the commission in so they can see for themselves?

And if the commission comes to the “wrong” conclusions, then why can’t Israel just give a rebuttal afterwards and state exactly why the conclusion was flawed?

But, saying the commission WILL INEVITABLY come to an anti-Israel conclusion – well, that sounds like there’s something to hide.

And why keep the press out? Why bury bodies?


(Sorry for the lack of links, but many major daily papers only provide archives on a pay basis. :frowning: )

Boudreaux, Richard. “Israeli army accused of atrocities.” Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2002.

Moore, Molly, and Hockstader, Lee. “Controversy swirls over Jenin battle.” Washington Post, April 12, 2002.

Miller, T. Christian. " ‘They forced me to hate.’ " Los Angeles Times, April 15, 2002.

Lamb, David. “Couple believed bedroom could be their grave.” Los Angeles Times, April 15, 2002.

Also the LA Weekly, at http://www.laweekly.com/ink/02/22/news-rabbani.shtml


The UN is nothing like a cop and just because they want to launch a fact finding mission doesn’t mean Israel is under any obligation to cooperate.


It sounds to me like Israel is a bit concerned that the UN may stack the deck against them. What’s wrong with wanting military and terrorist experts to be on the team instead of political leaders?


Actually what he said was



You’ve gotta be joking. You think we’d cooperate in an investigation we considered biased and let them question our troops? Heck, no.


The United States would question its troops. I doubt we’d let any UN committee get anywhere near them. Maybe as a courtesy we’d keep 'em updated on our progress.


Where’s the UN committee going to investigate all those suicide bombings and when will they be going?

International law hasn’t protected Israel why should they respect it? And since when does International Law require them to cooperate with the UN?


You might want to look at this thread on the second page. alleged quote . It is far from clear that the remarks were made, and certainly there is zero context for said remarks. The “quote” above sounds like a paraphrase. Certainly, the “quote” is different from the other thread linked.

While the UN certainly has political reasons for including some countries and excluding others in it’s human rights watch (China being perhaps the most obvious). Just because a country/people are not included does not mean they are innocent (Palestinians). Just because a country is censored or included does not mean there is no evidence or they are innocent (Israel)

The UN has many flaws, but the international community can and should act like a cop.

International law, including resolutions 242 and 338, recognizes Israel’s right to exist within secure borders.

As a member nation in the UN, Israel should obey Security Council resolutions in their entirety, not just the part that favors them.

They should also respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which they presumably agreed to by joining the UN. (In about the 12th post of this thread, I enumerated the specific parts of the Declaration that Israel is violating.)

If Israel has no respect for the UN, they are welcome to leave that body.

And if they have no respect for the demands made on them by Bush and Powell, they should just say, “Screw the military aid, we’re going it alone.”

It wasn’t even Bernadine Healy who made the comment. :rolleyes:
The Jerusalem Post recently debunked this bit of misinformation:
But apparently it is still around and mutating.
In regard to a UN investigation of the events in Jenin, what more do we need than the president’s word that “Sharon is a man of peace” ? All those stories of Israeli excesses in Lebanon during the occupation must be false.

tclouie: I note that all of your links date back to the day or two after the initial allegations came out - allegations made by the Palestinians, who would have said that a “massacre” took place no matter what Israel did. This was propaganda, and the media swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

Since then, the silence of the media has been deafening, because everyone who has looked at the evidence has said that the initial reports of a ‘massacre’ appear to have no evidence to back them up.

Here’s what Powell had to say about it: http://www.coxnews.com/newsservice/stories/2002/0425-POWELL-COX.html

Yeah, right. Israel did a wonderful job of rebutting Idi Amin’s government’s malarkey and yet Israel still got condemned by all the usual Israel-haters. Why should Israel believe the UN’s going to a thing for Israel?

If you wish to challenge someone’s cites based on their source (which I’m perfectly fine with), then you should probably find unbiased, or at least less biased, sources for your side of the argument.

Anne Bayefsky, the author of the article you linked to, is hardly that. Yes, she’s a smart lady, but she also has a very large axe that needs sharpening.

She is appalled at the UN Human Rights Committee when they are looking at Israel, but she loves them dearly when they help her Jewish school case in Canada. Apparently, the UN is only anti-semitic some of the time.:rolleyes:


I support the UN as a diplomatic forum for nations to resolve differences between them and perhaps work towards common goals. Sometimes that might even include member states voting to take military action and pledging their own troops to such causes. THat’s not quite the same thing as the UN having its own army though.


Yeah, but is that really important? It hasn’t stopped anyone in the past from invading nor does it stop terrorist from blowing up civilians commuting to work or sitting down for a bite to eat.


I wasn’t aware that joining the UN meant that a state surrendered their independence. The Security Council aren’t the rulers of the world.


It should be obvious to everyone that the UN doesn’t really care if a state observes the UD of Human Rights. As evidence I present the member states.

Israel has a lot of respect for the United States and they do take what they hear seriously. Remember during the Gulf War when they showed great restraint by not returning Sadam’s attacks? That doesn’t mean they’re going to jump just because the United States barks at them.


I got this thread mixed up with the “Should the UN have an army” thread. Nowhere in this thread did you make such a statement but I brought it up in the first paragraph of my reply. My only excuse is that it is late and I was thinking of both subjects at the same time. I did not mean to put words in your mouth and I apologize.


I think that pretty much explains why Israel’s government is so eff’d up right now – they’re using paranoia as a driving force for everything they’re doing…