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Saturday, January 21, 2006

UN Claims Map Erasing Israel Just "Historical"

Remember the UN's map that doesn't include the member state of Israel? Well, here's the real story behind it:

... By letter dated January 16, 2006 the UN responded. In an obvious slight to any American Ambassador, and straining to duck responsibility for the event and the response, Secretary-General Kofi Annan refused to write back directly. The letter was signed by Ibrahim Gambari, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.

... Rather than the "who me?" routine, the Secretary-General (or his legal advisor) might have considered his responsibilities in light of the context in which the decision to display the map was taken. In 1975 the United Nations General Assembly declared Zionism to be racism. Every meeting of the UN on the Arab-Israeli conflict or racial discrimination between that moment and 1991, when the resolution was rescinded, was predicated on the Zionism equals racism declaration. On Palestinian Solidarity Day in November 1981 the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) took a decision to display the map and flag. Here is the decision and the conversation in the Committee immediately following:

    Chairman: Mr. SARRE (Senegal) I should like to draw member attention to the map and flag now positioned just outside this chamber; they are those of Palestine as it existed in 1948. If there is no objection I shall ask for that map and that flag to be brought into the chamber, where they will remain until the end of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. If there is no objection, it will be so decided. It was so decided.
    The CHAIRMAN: I now call upon the representative of the South West Africa People's Organization.
    Mr. GURIRAB (South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO)): I cannot miss this opportunity to note the map that has just been brought into the room, which shows Palestine as it existed in 1947, and the flag, which symbolizes the aspirations and legitimate demands of the Palestinian people. It is therefore my pleasure to be speaking at this point, and I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for directing the Secretariat to bring the flag and the map into the room...With the exception of the racists and Zionists, nobody questions the legitimacy of the oppressed peoples' using all means at their disposal, including revolutionary violence - that is, armed struggle... [I]t is my pleasant duty...to extend on this solemn International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People our revolutionary greetings and warm congratulations to the delegation of the Palestine liberation Organization and its Chairman, Comrade Arafat...for the intensification of the armed struggle against the common enemy...[T]hank you...for all the efforts that are being made to hasten the day of the final liberation of Palestine. That day is inevitable, whether it comes through the bullet or the ballot...
    Mr. MUHTASSER (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) ...The Zionist entity is perpetrating barbarous crimes...these crimes even exceed the crimes committed by Nazi Germany...
    Mr. ASHTAL (Democratic Yemen)... The resistance and the heroic revolution in Palestine are clear proof of the potential of the struggle represented by Arab resistance movements against the plans for aggression by imperialist and Zionist forces, aimed at aborting the armed struggle of our Arab brothers to recover hegemony over our destiny and future...
    Mr. TROYANOVSKY (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)... "I wish you, Comrade Arafat, your co-fighters and the entire friendly Palestinian people further success...
    Mr. AL-ALI (Iraq): I have the honour to read out a message from Mr. Saddam Hussain... The Zionist leaders have constantly made threats and resorted to all means to implement the very strange theory of 'Israel's security'. Thus, we are convinced that the struggle against international Zionism will be a difficult and long struggle because of the nature of Zionism and racial discrimination and the nature of the Zionist policy and its perfidious plans of hegemony...

Clearly, the map without the state of Israel was agreed upon in the context of advocating the violent elimination of the Jewish state or the "Zionist entity." In other words, it was a decision taken during a time in UN history that the self-determination of the Jewish people was said to be a violation of international law and it was intended to promote that policy.

Gambari's letter, however, makes no mention of the 1981 UN environment but instead dismisses it as an innocent "historical map, showing Palestine as it was in 1948, at the end of the British Mandate...[It was] the map and flag "of Palestine as it existed in 1948." Apparently, the Secretary-General needs a history lesson.

I think the Secretary-General needs to be shown the door....


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