Israel shows contempt for international opinion
A resolution, a breach, then a new resolution.
That seems to be the unbreakable cycle in Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.
In this seemingly endless process, helpless Palestinians have never given up hope on United Nations resolutions to end their suffering, though the resolutions have rarely improved their situation.
As the stronger side, Israel has gained a reputation in the international community for not putting much stock in UN resolutions.
Tuesday was another inspiring date for most Palestinians. The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution demanding Israel comply with a world court ruling to tear down the West Bank "security barrier" being built deep into Palestinian territory.
Palestinians have reason to cheer because the 150-6 vote in the 191-member world body shows that international sympathy is overwhelming on their side.
Just as Palestinian UN observer Nasser Al-Kidwa said, the resolution could be the most important one since 1947, when the General Assembly passed Resolution 181 for the creation of independent Jewish and Arab states in the British-ruled Palestinian territory.
The latest resolution was the world body's order for Israel to "cease and desist" building the barrier, which Israel claims is aimed at protecting Israelis from suicide bombings by Palestinian militants.
But construction of the barrier has caused extreme hardships and inconvenience to the normal lives of Palestinians.
On July 9 the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the top UN legal body, ruled the barrier was illegal. It demanded Israel dismantle the barrier and pay reparations to Palestinians harmed by its construction.
However, the UN resolution, like the ICJ ruling, could not effectively stop Israel from doing what it wants.
Following its passage, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman called the resolution "one-sided and totally counterproductive."
He said Israel, in compliance with international law, will continue constructing the barrier that can save the lives of its people.
When saying this, did the Israeli ambassador consider the Israeli supreme court's standards for international law, or those established by the world court?
Israel, backed by the United States, will no doubt continue defying international opinion.
But the Israelis should ask themselves where this will lead - to enduring peace with Palestinians, or enduring conflict.
(China Daily 07/22/2004 page6)