Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

Stephen R. Shalom: anti-Semitism and the Israel-Palestine conflict (Appendix)

19 November 2010

Appendix to Anti-Semitism and the Israel-Palestine conflict – assessing the claim of double standards
By Stephen R. Shalom, Israeli Occupation Archive – 19 Nov 2010

Methodology: I sorted all 1,947 Security Council resolutions from 1946 to October 29, 2010, by topic. 291 of these dealt with Israel in some way. Of these 291, 134 consisted of renewals of peacekeeping forces on Israel’s border with Lebanon, Syria, or Egypt. Many of the remaining ones did not single out Israel for criticism: either no one was criticized or several parties were criticized at the same time. 81 resolutions criticized Israel specifically. In a few cases, categorizing these resolutions involved some judgment. Generally if a resolution condemned the breaking of a cease-fire, but without specifying who was responsible, it was not counted here, regardless of what evidence there is regarding the responsibility. On the other hand, if a resolution called for parties to return their forces to a previous position, without specifying which forces had advanced and which had not, and if there is evidence showing that it was Israel that advanced and did not withdraw, then the resolution was counted here as critical of Israel. Of these 81 resolutions, the United States voted in favor of 52 of them and abstained on 29. The 52 resolutions that Washington backed are summarized in the table below.

Most other countries were the subjects of fewer than 52 resolutions. Therefore, ipso facto these countries could not have been criticized as often as Israel. Aside from Israel, the countries that were the subject of 50 or more resolutions were: the former Yugoslavia and its components (184 resolutions), Cyprus (129), Iraq (102), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (64), Western Sahara (61), Angola (60), and Liberia (53). In each of these cases there were fewer than 52 critical resolutions directed at a single country.

The Yugoslavia resolutions included about 20 that directed special condemnation at Serbia or the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. (This includes resolutions that criticized both Serbia and Croatia for intervention in Bosnia Herzegovina.) Another 13 singled out for criticism the Bosnian Serbs and 1 the Serbs of Croatia. The Government of Croatia was criticized in a further 6 resolutions. Other resolutions dealt with peacekeeping forces in Bosnia, Croatia, or Macedonia (51); the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (32); the embargo imposed on Serbia (9); and another 42 were neutral in their criticism. The categorization here was often complex, with several resolutions running to seven pages. But it is unlikely that a different categorization would boost the total of resolutions critical of Serbia to over Israel’s 52.

The Council passed 102 resolutions relating to Iraq (apart from the one condemning Israel’s 1981 attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor). Of these, 22 dealt with Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, and thus dealt with an entirely different regime. Of the remaining 80 resolutions, 45 of them did not single out Iraq for criticism: most dealt with the oil-for-food program or UN monitors on the Iranian or Kuwaiti border. Ten resolutions dealt with the Iran-Iraq war, usually calling for a ceasefire and (when Iran was occupying Iraq but not when Iraq was occupying Iran) withdrawal to the pre-war borders. The resolutions on the use of chemical weapons condemned both sides equally, with a single resolution (620) noting that “use against Iranians had become more intense and frequent.” This leaves 35 resolutions that were critical of Iraq, many of them extremely so.

Regarding Cyprus, there were some criticisms of Turkey and demands that it withdraw, but the bulk of the resolutions did not refer to Turkey by name or by clear implication.

Regarding Western Sahara, the bulk of the resolutions urged both parties to cooperate with the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Sahara. Neither party – Morocco or the Polisario Liberation Front – was singled out for condemnation.

Regarding Angola, the UN tried to verify a peaceful settlement between the government and a guerrilla group that had long been backed by Western powers, UNITA. UNITA came in for criticism much more frequently than did the government, and the Security Council imposed an arms embargo on UNITA.

Regarding Liberia, the Council authorized a UN Mission in Liberia to help provide security and repair the effects of a devastating civil war.

Thus, no country has been criticized by the Security Council more times than Israel was – with the concurrence of the United States.

UN Security Council Resolutions Criticizing Israel,
with an Affirmative Vote By the United States

Resolution Year Council Action Comment
SC Res. 59 1949 After members of the Israeli Stern Gang murder the UN mediator, the Council “notes with concern” that the Israeli government failed to provide a report on the incident. What the Council didn’t know was that the person in charge of the assassination would later become prime minister of Israel (Yitzhak Shamir) and that Ben Gurion kept secret the confession of a close friend who was one of the assassins.[1]
SC Res. 93 1951 The Council “finds” that Israel’s air actions against Syria were inconsistent with the UN Charter and with the armistice agreements, and “decides” that Arabs removed from the demilitarized zone by Israel “be permitted to return forthwith.”
SC Res. 101 1953 The Council issues the “strongest censure” for Israel’s attack on the Jordanian village of Qibya. The attack killed 69 civilians, three quarters of them women and children. Some Israeli officials were embarrassed by this operation, but that didn’t stop them from publicly lying about it.[2]
SC Res. 106 1955 The Council “condemns” Israel’s attack on Gaza. Israel claimed to be doing this in response to Egypt’s anti-Semitic hanging of 2 Egyptian Jews, hiding the fact that Israel had used these Jews to plant incendiary devices in western theaters and libraries in Egypt.{3]
SC Res. 111 1956 The Council “condemns” Israel’s “flagrant” and unjustified attack on Syria, and “expresses its grave concern” at Israel’s failure to comply with its obligations.
SC Res. 119 1956 Following veto by UK and France of draft resolution supported by the United States condemning the Israeli-British-French attack on Egypt, the Council votes to send the matter to the General Assembly. It is now known that at a secret planning meeting in France Ben Gurion proposed that Israel take not just the Sinai, but southern Lebanon, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.[4]
SC Res. 127 1958 The Council asks Israel to suspend its activities in the Israel-Jordan demilitarized zone.
SC Res. 138 1958 The Council asks Israel to pay reparations to Argentina for violating its sovereignty to seize Adolf Eichmann.
SC Res. 162 1962 The Council “urges” Israel to comply with the decision of the Israel-Jordan Mixed Armistice Commission.
SC Res. 171 1962 The Council “determines” that an Israeli attack on Syria is a “flagrant violation” and “calls upon” Israel scrupulously to refrain from such action in the future.
SC Res. 228 1966 The Council “censures” Israel for a particularly large scale attack on the Jordanian village of Sammu.
SC Res. 236 1967 On June 11, in the middle of the Six Day War, the Council condemns violations of the ceasefire and tells the parties to return to the lines of the previous day; but only Israel had advanced, and it fails to comply.
SC Res. 237 1967 At the close of the war, the Council tells Israel to allow the return of those who fled during the fighting. Israel fails to comply.[5]
SC Res. 248 1968 The Council “condemns” a large-scale Israeli military action against Jordan.
SC Res. 250 1968 The Council “calls upon” Israel not to hold a provocative military parade in Jerusalem, now fully conquered by Israel.
SC Res. 251 1968 The Council “deeply deplores” Israel’s action in ignoring SC Res. 250.
SC Res. 256 1968 The Council “condemns” “massive” Israeli air attacks on Jordan.
SC Res. 262 1968 The Council “condemns” attack on Beirut’s civil airport, and considers that Lebanon is entitled to compensation.
SC Res. 267 1969 The Council “deplores” Israel’s failure to show any regard for General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on Jerusalem; “censures in the strongest terms” all measures taken to change the status of Jerusalem; and again declares all such measures invalid. U.S. had abstained on earlier resolution, SC Res. 252.
SC Res. 270 1969 The Council “condemns” an Israeli air attack on Lebanon.
SC Res. 279 1970 The Council “demands” that Israel remove all its military forces from Lebanon.
SC Res. 298 1971 The Council again “deplores” Israel’s failure to respect its resolutions on Jerusalem.
SC Res. 313 1972 The Council “demands” that Israel desist from military action in Lebanon and withdraw its forces forthwith.
SC Res. 337 1973 The Council “condemns” Israel’s hijacking of a Lebanese civilian airliner.
SC Res. 339 1973 During the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the Council calls for a cease-fire and “urges” a return to the cease-fire lines (only Israel had advanced beyond the previous cease-fire lines). Kissinger was secretly encouraging Israel to violate the cease-fire and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir informed Kissinger through her ambassador that Israel would not return to the cease-fire line.[6]
SC Res. 340 1973 The Council again “demands” a cease-fire and a return to the cease-fire lines as of 1650 on Oct. 22.
SC Res. 347 1974 The Council “condemns” Israeli attacks in Lebanon and “calls upon Israel forthwith to release and return to Lebanon the abducted Lebanese civilians.” In later years (1985 and 1989) the Council would twice pass a general resolution on hostage-taking, condemning the practice, and calling on all states who had not yet done so to become a party to an international treaty outlawing the practice. Some 160 states have ratified the treaty. As of 2010, Israel has not.[7]
SC Res. 425 1978 The Council “calls upon” Israel to cease military action in Lebanon and to withdraw its troops from that country.
SC Res. 427 1978 Two months later the Council notes that there have been some Israeli withdrawals from Lebanon, but it “calls upon” Israel to fully withdraw.
SC Res. 444 1979 The Council “deplores” the lack of cooperation, particularly on the part of Israel, with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, including its support to irregular armed groups.
SC Res. 450 1979 The Council “strongly deplores” acts of violence against Lebanon, and “calls upon” Israel to cease all actions against Lebanon, including assistance to “irresponsible armed groups.”
SC Res. 465 1980 The Council “strongly deplores” Israel’s refusal to allow a Palestinian mayor to attend a meeting of the Security Council; terms Israel’s actions in the occupied territories, including Jerusalem, illegal, in flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions; “strongly deplores” Israel’s settlement policy, calling on it to rescind all such measures, and declaring that no state should give any aid to Israel that might support the settlements.
SC Res. 484 1980 The Council reaffirms the applicability of the Geneva Convention to the occupied territories, “calls upon” Israel to comply with the Convention, and “declares it imperative” that the expelled mayors be returned to their homes. US had earlier abstained SC Res. 468 urging Israel to rescind its expulsion of 3 Palestinian officials from the occupied territories.
SC Res. 487 1981 The Council “strongly condemns” Israel’s attack on Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osiraq, and “calls upon Israel urgently” to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.
SC Res. 497 1981 The Council “decides” Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights null and void and “demands” that Israel rescind the annexation.
SC Res. 498 1981 The Council reaffirms Resolution 425, which “calls upon” Israel to cease military action in Lebanon and withdraw its troops.
SC Res. 501 1982 The Council again reaffirms Resolution 425, which “calls upon” Israel to cease military action in Lebanon and withdraw its troops.
SC Res. 509 1982 On June 6, 1982, after Israel invaded deep into Lebanon, the Council demands that Israel withdraw its troops and that there be an immediate cease-fire.
SC Res. 513 1982 The Council calls for the restoration of normal supply of vital facilities, especially in Beirut. Israel not named, but it was Israel that was laying siege to Beirut.
SC Res. 518 1982 The Council demands that Israel and all parties strictly observe the cease-fire in Lebanon and that Israel immediately lift all restrictions it has imposed on getting supplies into Beirut.
SC Res. 520 1982 The Council condemns the murder of Lebanese president-elect Bashir Gemayel (not by Israel), and Israeli incursions into Beirut, demanding that as a first step forces return to their positions of two days earlier. Two days later, the Council condemned (in SC Res. 521, with U.S. approval) the massacres at the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. These were carried out by Lebanese Phalangists, with Israeli complicity.[8]
SC Res. 607 1988 The Council calls on Israel to refrain from deporting Palestinian civilians from the occupied territories.
SC Res. 672 1990 Council condemns especially the acts of violence committed by Israeli security forces in the occupied Palestinian territories leading to deaths and injuries, calls on Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention, and welcomes the decision of the Secretary General to send a mission to the region.
SC Res. 673 1990 The Council deplores Israel’s refusal to receive the Secretary General’s mission.
SC Res. 681 1990 The Council expresses its “grave concern” over Israel’s rejection of resolutions 672 and 673; deplores Israel’s decision to resume deportations of Palestinians; and urges Israel to abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention.
SC Res. 694 1991 Council declares that the Israeli deportations violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and that it deplores the Israeli actions.
SC Res. 726 1992 The Council again declares that the Israeli deportations violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, reaffirms the applicability of the Convention, and requests Israel to refrain from deportations and all the return of those already deported.
SC Res. 799 1992 Council strongly condemns the Israeli deportations; reaffirms the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to all the occupied Palestinian territories; affirms that the deportation of civilians violates the Convention; and demands that Israel return those deported.
SC Res. 904 1994 Following 50 Palestinian civilian deaths in a massacre in Hebron and the aftermath, the Council reaffirms the applicability of the Geneva Convention to the occupied Palestinian territories, including Jerusalem, and calls for Israel to confiscate arms to prevent illegal settler violence and a temporary international presence to protect Palestinian civilians. Israel’s official response rejected the inclusion of Jerusalem as being part of the occupied territories, and was silent on the specific recommendations of confiscating arms and allowing an international presence.[9]
SC Res. 1402 2002 The Council calls for a cease-fire and for Israel to withdraw from Palestinian cities.
SC Res. 1403 2002 The Council “demands” implementation of SC Res. 1402.
SC Res 1405 2002 The Council emphasizes the urgency of access by medical and humanitarian organizations to Palestinians (“calling for the lifting of restrictions imposed”).

Notes to Appendix

  1. Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel & The Palestinians, Cambridge: South End Press 1983, updated edition 1999, p. 486.
  2. Walid Khalidi and Neil Caplan, “The 1953 Qibya Raid Revisited,” Journal of Palestine Studies, vol. 31, no. 4 (Summer 2002), pp. 77-98.
  3. See Joel Beinin, The Dispersion of Egyptian Jewry: Culture, Politics, and the Formation of a Modern Diaspora, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.
  4. Avi Shlaim, “The Protocol of Sevres, 1956: Anatomy of a War Plot,” International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs), Vol. 73, No. 3 (Jul., 1997), pp. 509-530.
  5. Fred J. Khouri, The Arab-Israeli Dilemma, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2nd ed., 1976, pp. 149-161.
  6. Patrick Tyler, A World of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East — from the Cold War to the War on Terror, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010, pp. 164, 168, 170.
  7. See here. Israel signed, but did not ratify. Syria and Indonesia are not parties.
  8. Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Events at the Refugee Camps in Beirut (The Kahan Commission) (February 8, 1983); and, much more critically, Ammon Kapeliouk, Sabra and Shatila: Inquiry into a Massacre, Belmont, MA: Association of Arab-American University Graduates. AAUG Press, 1984).
  9. Israel, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Israel’s Response To Security Council Resolution 904,” (Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman) 19 March 1994.

Stephen R. Shalom teaches political science at William Paterson University in NJ. He is a member of the IOA Advisory Board.

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