On July 12th, Hezbollah guerillas killed three Israeli soldiers and kidnapped another two, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. All the while Hezbollah continued to launch rockets at civilian targets in Northern Israel. These acts against Israel’s sovereignty sparked Israel's defensive measures and the subsequent escalation of the conflict. In the end, as a direct consequence of Hezbollah’s belligerence, more than 1,000 Lebanese and Israeli civilians lay dead and the infrastructure of Lebanon lay in ruins.
When the cease-fire was brokered by the United Nations, it was with the understanding of all parties, particularly Israel, that the UN would work toward the release of Israel’s kidnapped soldiers. Today, more than two months later, those two brave young men remain in captivity and their families remain uncertain of their future. Furthermore, Hezbollah remains armed with as many as 20,000 rockets aimed at Israel – according to the terrorist group’s own claims. Just this past Friday, Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah threw a victory rally in Lebanon taunting Israel, the peace-seeking government of Lebanon, and the United Nations with the probability that no one will ever see these two soldiers alive again. In fact, not only did Nasrallah note that these soldiers would only be returned in exchange for some of its jailed terrorist foot soldiers, Nasrallah also vowed that UN and Lebanese troops would not be allowed to disarm Hezbollah guerilla troops in Southern Israel and threatened the Western-friendly Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora.
There can be no doubt that Nasrallah and Hezbollah have become bolder, more dangerous, and a graver threat to peace in the Middle East.
And yet, Israel has honorably abided by the terms of the cease-fire, as a sign of good faith and its commitment to peace in the region. It leaves one to wonder at the effectiveness of the UN to rectify the still unresolved injustice. This situation brings to light, yet one more example of the dramatic short-comings of the United Nations in its ability to carry out the good for which it was originally created. In fact, at the very time the United Nations was seeking to implement this cease-fire in Lebanon, it was entertaining Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who surprised no one with a tirade before the UN General Assembly alternating between anti-American vitriol and ad hominem attacks against Israel.
Of course, if the United Nations is going to be an effective broker for peace and conduit for diplomacy, it must itself be above reproach. The United Nation’s track record with regard to Israel, specifically, is unbalanced at best; anti-Semitic at worst. In just a single session of the UN General Assembly, it passed 21 individual resolutions criticizing Israel. And, over a 30-year period of time, the UN has actually funded three organizations that disseminate anti-Israel propaganda. Furthermore, only Israel has been called upon to defend itself as an individual agenda item for the UN Commission on Human Rights.
Even on a more general level, it’s little wonder that the UN has lacked the credibility to broker international agreements, let alone enforce them. With its current track record of internal corruption and its roster of greedy little machine bosses, the UN is hardly able to claim the moral high ground necessary to occupy that position. Consider just the Oil-for-Food scandal that facilitated as much as $17 billion in grants, scams, and smuggling, keeping Saddam Hussein living the lap of luxury while the people of Iraq starved and also paying for the rewards for the families of suicide bombers. Even now that the first conviction of a central figure to that scandal has been served and dates have been set for the trails of several other co-conspirators, the UN continues to protect some of the most egregious offenders.
It’s been long enough. I urge the United Nations to do what is right – to defend the sovereignty of the State of Israel and take the necessary measures to insure the soldiers’ immediate and safe return to their families and to give evidence of its credibility as a true broker of peace in the Middle East.