Israel’s Foreign Minister urges UN to act on its founding principles
The Foreign Minister of Israel today called on the United Nations to act on its founding principles by ensuring that the work of its Human Rights Council is balanced and by standing up to those who openly espouse violence.
“What is the value, we have to ask, of an Organization which is unable to take effective action in the face of a direct assault on the very principles it was founded to protect?” asked Tzipi Livni in her address to the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate.
“It is time for the United Nations, and the States of the world, to live up to their promise of never again,” she declared.
She added that “it is also time to see this same kind of moral conviction in the Human Rights Council so that it can become a shield for the victims of human rights, not a weapon for its abusers.”
Israel, she said, “has never tried to avoid genuine discussion of its human rights record. But so long as the Council maintains its wildly disproportionate focus on Israel, it weakens the UN’s moral voice, and the price of this blindness is paid by the victims of human rights atrocities in Darfur and Myanmar and throughout the world.”
The Foreign Minister also issued a call for the development “at the global level what democracies apply at the national one” – namely a universal set of standards for participation in democratic elections.
“We need a universal democratic code that requires that all those seeking the legitimacy of the democratic process earn it by respecting such principles as State monopoly over the lawful use of force, the rejection of racism and violence and the protection of rights of others.”
She cautioned against “buying off extremists” in search of a short-term fix to instability. “Instead, groups such as Hamas and Hizbollah must be presented with a clear choice: between the path of violence and the path of legitimacy.”
The Israeli Foreign Minister said responsible States agree that “Iran is the most prominent sponsor of terrorism” and that it is actively pursuing means to “wipe a Member State – mine – off the map.”
She charged that despite this, “there are still those who, in the name of consensus and engagement, continue to obstruct the urgent steps which are needed to bring Iran’s sinister ambition to a halt.”
Despite all the obstacles to the Middle East peace process, she said “there is a new moment of opportunity, an alliance that favours peace.”
Guided by shared principles regarding the need to establish two States, living side by side in peace and security, “the parties can define a common border and turn the two-State vision into a reality,” she said.
Using the right of reply, Iran’s representative said Ms. Livni had made “baseless allegations” and distortions against his country to distract the international community from the “criminal policies and… atrocities” carried out by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory and elsewhere in the region.