Ban Ki-moon keeps woofing at Israel over occupation — but not a word about sanctions

US Politics
on 18 Comments

Last week, Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, gave a landmark speech saying that it was “human nature” for Palestinians to resist occupation:

as oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu then lashed out at Ban for allegedly “stoking terror.”

Well, Ban Ki-moon has now penned a piece for the New York Times op-ed page titled, “Don’t Shoot the Messenger, Israel,” restating his case about “nearly a half century” of occupation as a challenge to Israel.

I pointed out a simple truth: History proves that people will always resist occupation.

Some sought to shoot the messenger — twisting my words into a misguided justification for violence.

The piece is drawing global attention with an AP story saying that the Secretary General is “doubling down” on his comments on Israel.

Here is Ban’s argument, restated, on occupation producing violence:

No one can deny that the everyday reality of occupation provokes anger and despair, which are major drivers of violence and extremism and undermine any hope of a negotiated two-state solution.

The settlements keep expanding.

Palestinians — especially young people — are losing hope over what seems a harsh, humiliating and endless occupation.

And he frames this in the context of the death of the two-state solution.

I am so concerned that we are reaching a point of no return for the two-state solution. And I am disturbed by statements from senior members of Israel’s government that the aim should be abandoned altogether.

The stalemate carries grave risks for both sides: a continuation of the deadly wave of terrorism and killings; the collapse of the Palestinian Authority; greater isolation of and international pressure on Israel; and a corrosion of the moral foundation of Israeli and Palestinian societies, ever more inured to the pain of the other.

The piece alludes to the recent criticisms of Israel by Secretary of State John Kerry and Ambassador Daniel Shapiro:

[W]hen heartfelt concerns about shortsighted or morally damaging policies emanate from so many sources, including Israel’s closest friends, it cannot be sustainable to keep lashing out at every well-intentioned critic.

The end of the piece fizzles. “The status quo is untenable,” Ban says. Just what Kerry and Shapiro have said. None of these exalted officials is threatening any enforcement over Israel’s half-century of defiance of international norms in the occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan. Nope, apparently that’s all the responsibility of the Palestinians with their “human nature” resistance.

You’d think that with so many Palestinians willing to give up their lives in order to demonstrate the inhumanity of the occupation– 160 have been killed since October, most wielding knives– the international community might actually take some symbolic steps to put its money where its mouth is. But you’d be wrong.

Thanks to Tom Suarez.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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18 Responses

  1. Kay24
    February 1, 2016, 10:56 am

    When will the UN, EU, and US, realize Israel is NOT going to end the occupation, and certainly not going to do the right thing, and halt the illegal settlements from being built? What will it take for them to face reality, and stop enabling this nation, by giving it a free pass, and making excuses for it’s crimes. The moment Israel sends precision bombs into densely populated areas, the first thing the US says is that it has a right to defend itself. What about the Palestinians? Don’t they have the right to resist a brutal occupation, that has gone on for over 60 years? They have lost too much of their lands, and suffered long enough. It is time Israel was boycotted and sanctioned, and held responsible for breaking international laws – and it will not be anti-semitic at all. Ban Ki-Moon should do the right thing, and help the Palestinians before he leaves office.

    • pabelmont
      February 1, 2016, 12:30 pm

      Kay24, they’ve realized it for years! It’s not a secret unless, perhaps, from self-deluding American liberal Zionists (people who live inside that contradiction in terms and hide from much truth in order to do so).

      But generally nations all have their own skeletons in closets and also have business interests (those of oligarchs or other powerful private persons of influence) which they’d like to preserve uninjured. So they do not fancy sanctions, so much trouble after all and such an intolerable interference with the internal affairs of other countries!

      There, all better?

      • Kay24
        February 1, 2016, 8:00 pm

        I will only feel better when the US decides to really show it’s want democracy for the Palestinians too, and not arm and aid the people who keep them in limbo. :))

  2. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    February 1, 2016, 11:05 am

    I said a few days ago that Ban’s words are meaningless. The only reason he’s plucked up the ‘courage’ to issue his rather mild rebukes is because he’s leaving office soon, and in any case it’s only words, with nothing to back them up. And even the words are fairly innocuous – his main concern seems to be about the silly ‘2 state solution’ and the impact on Israel, not on the hardships suffered by Palestinians. Note how he refers unambiguously to Palestinian resistance as ‘terrorism’ and hauls out the old ‘cycle of violence’ cliche.

    Ban sounds like a ‘liberal Zionist’ wringing his hands over the ‘soul of Israel’, not like someone who genuinely seeks justice for the Palestinians.

  3. Ossinev
    February 1, 2016, 2:40 pm

    Yes it may be seen as meaningless words but at the very least he shot an arrow back at the Yahoo and his cronies which is a positive. It could also be the case hopefully that he is waiting for the French negotiating initiative to run it`s course and fail, as it surely will, before he announces that the UN has no choice and is finally flushing away the possibility of a 2SS.

    Having looked at the reader`s comments in the NYT it is as ever illuminating to read the same old same old “whataboutery”. It reminds me of Jon Snow`s epic put down of the revolting “let`s be clear ” Regurgitev ( pointing out to him that he was not talking about Outer Mongolia or Inner Nigeria but about Gaza and that the Channel 4 reporter was not in Outer Mongolia or Inner Nigeria but in Gaza). The why just us and none of the other bastards around the world mantra of these Israel firsters in the US and their fellow western Zionists in Europe mirrors the eternal victim / eternally victimised psychosis of the Zionist Israelis on the actual plot. If you remove that particular drip feed then they are totally screwed.

    Another boringly predictable theme in the comments is the ongoing canard of ” how can we negotiate if they refuse to recognise Israel” where western Zionists simply lie to themselves and comfort themselves if challenged with the Yahoo late addendum of “as a Jewish state” by simply ignoring the uncomfortable reality of the following:

    1. LETTER FROM YASSER ARAFAT TO PRIME MINISTER RABIN:
    September 9, 1993
    Yitzhak Rabin
    Prime Minister of Israel

    Mr. Prime Minister,
    The signing of the Declaration of Principles marks a new era in the history of the Middle East. In firm conviction thereof, I would like to confirm the following PLO commitments:
    The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.
    The PLO accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.
    The PLO commits itself to the Middle East peace process, and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict between the two sides and declares that all outstanding issues relating to permanent status will be resolved through negotiations.
    The PLO considers that the signing of the Declaration of Principles constitutes a historic event, inaugurating a new epoch of peaceful coexistence, free from violence and all other acts which endanger peace and stability. Accordingly, the PLO renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence and will assume responsibility over all PLO elements and personnel in order to assure their compliance, prevent violations and discipline violators
    In view of the promise of a new era and the signing of the Declaration of Principles and based on Palestinian acceptance of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel’s right to exist, and the provisions of the Covenant which are inconsistent with the commitments of this letter are now inoperative and no longer valid. Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant.

    Sincerely,
    Yasser Arafat
    Chairman
    The Palestine Liberation Organization

    The hypocrisy of the Yahoo`s reverse flip on recognition is neatly summed up in:

    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.579701

    No doubt if the PA had a brainstorm and actually recognized Israel as “a Jewish state” the Yahoo ( faced with another OMG ! they are giving us what we are asking for what do I do next to maintain the no negotiations status quo) would come up with a further not a pre-condition condition for negotiations such as recognition of Israel as a non secular , Jewish Western Democratic , existentially threatened , vulnerable to 2nd Holocaust , non occupying state etc etc ad infinitum.

    The good news is that the self hasbarising is becoming more and more desperate and unsustainable and the reality of Israeli Fascism in the Stole Territories is becoming ever more clear to observers in the West and ever more uncomfortable for Western Governments and politicians to ignore.

    BTW Speaking of Stolen Territories the IDF appear to have begun implementing a Warsaw method on Ramallah – will be interesting to see how this unfolds:

    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.700670

    • amigo
      February 1, 2016, 3:04 pm

      “Another boringly predictable theme in the comments is the ongoing canard of ” how can we negotiate if they refuse to recognise Israel” ,Ossinev

      I read the first 2 pages of zionist hasbara that included the usual claim that the UN is anti Israel and ignores all the other conflicts going on around the world.If the UN is so anti Israel , how come they can stick their fingers at UN officials and refuse to co operate with UN investigations and continue to break international laws on a scale rarely matched by any other nation in the last 60 plus years.Damn, these miscreants are tedious and irritating , at best.

      • eljay
        February 1, 2016, 3:29 pm

        || amigo: … If the UN is so anti Israel … ||

        The U.N. is highly anti-Israel and the record – including massive military interventions in Libya, Iraq and Syria and harsh economic sanctions against Iran – speaks for itself.

      • amigo
        February 1, 2016, 8:32 pm

        To lysias .

        Yup, the UN is littered with anti semites and Jew haters all living to destroy the only Jewish State.

  4. inbound39
    February 1, 2016, 2:54 pm

    Yes……good analytical article. No wonder the UN is viewed as useless. By kneeling at Americas feet and giving in to their wishes for the special relationship with Israel it has opened the Pandoras Box of attrocities like Syria,Ukraine,Sudan et al. UN looks totally stupid haw hawing about these other countries invading someone else when Israel has been allowed to commit subtle genocide and territorial land theft for decades not to mention outright murder of Palestinians with no reprcussions Internationally. America and Britain look as despicable as Israel for their collusion with Israel. There is no excuse…..absolutely none.

  5. amigo
    February 1, 2016, 3:52 pm

    Robert Fisk,s take on Nietanyahu,s response to Bank Ki Moon.

    “Has Benjamin Netanyahu gone bananas? I don’t mean this as an aberration, like a politician who loses his marbles during a particular crisis. No, it was when I read the Israeli Prime Minister’s response to Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, that I realised he just might be a bit insane. ”

    The article ends with this interesting observation,

    “But in “Palestine” now (alas, the inverted commas are ever more necessary these days), there are an unfree people. And we know what happens under occupation. The people either resist, however murderously, or they leave. Netanyahu would probably be happy if they left because then he could colonise their land at an ever faster pace. But what if they decided to make the trek to Europe from the West Bank? We’ve already seen how Arabs and Muslims walked all the way to Austria and Germany. What if little boats set out from the midden of Gaza to join the armadas arriving off Greece or Italy?

    There are dangers out in the Middle East which Europeans should be more aware of.

    Do they, in fact, realise the truth but just don’t want to say so? And, for that matter, doesn’t the Israeli Prime Minister know the truth? Or has he gone bonkers?”

    Read more at !!.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/netanyahu-thinks-mild-ban-ki-moon-incites-terror-a6845186.html

    • Kay24
      February 1, 2016, 8:12 pm

      Thanks for linking that very interesting article. The first thing that crossed my mind was, it was so accurate, and that was followed by the realization, that no one in the US media would dare write such an article. Netanyahu is becoming crazier by the day. He seems to be consumed by stealing more lands – he wants to go down in history as the zionist who gave the Israelis a larger country, with water, and other resources – and no one in the zionist world will care how much the rightful owners had to suffer, shed blood, lose their rights, lands and those resources, for over 60 years, so that the vicious zionists can have their enlarged Jewish state. They have justified their crimes with falsehoods, exaggerations, and playing victim.

      I blame the US, the EU, the UN, and the rest of the world for being the enablers.

  6. Kay24
    February 1, 2016, 7:58 pm

    In the meantime, a member of our shameless congress, obviously in the pockets of the zionists, wants to further turn the screws on the long suffering Palestinians, by pushing for a bill that would label goods made in Gaza as “made in Israel”. It would mean BDS is working, and it also means that Tom Cotton’s brain is not.

    Tom Cotton’s New Law Would Allow A Product Made In Gaza To Be Labeled ‘Made in Israel’
    If passed, the bill would reverse 20 years of U.S. policy.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tom-cotton-israel-palestinian-territories-label_us_56afcc6fe4b09214b14f3506

  7. Tuyzentfloot
    February 2, 2016, 4:55 am

    You’d think that with so many Palestinians willing to give up their lives in order to demonstrate the inhumanity of the occupation– 160 have been killed since October, most wielding knives– the international community might actually take some symbolic steps to put its money where its mouth is. But you’d be wrong.

    I don’t condemn violent resistance but how do you know most were wielding knives? Does having your hands in your pockets count? And eating with fork and knife? A fork can be a dangerous weapon too you know.

    I think very few were killed in order to defend someone from imminent lethal danger.

  8. brent
    February 2, 2016, 12:29 pm

    So long as the Newshour and NPR do such an inadequate job of informing Americans on the nuances of the Question of Palestine (Ban Ki-Moon Kerry, Shapiro), we cannot expect a single US politician to talk sanctions or object to the laundering of US monies to build settlements.

  9. James Canning
    February 2, 2016, 1:09 pm

    Israel assumes it can change its borders by growing the illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. This assumption may eventually be proven incorrect.

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