The Rosett Report

Rockets From Gaza; Folly From the UN

Yet again, Gaza terrorists have been firing rockets into Israel. Yet again, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, has written a letter asking the UN Security Council to condemn these attacks. This follows Prosor’s many letters of 2012 to the Security Council, sent month after month, chronicling Gaza rocket attacks on Israel, and asking the Security Council to act. The Security Council did nothing, until Israel, last November, finally acted in its own defense to try to shut down the sources of the rocket fire. At that point, the Security Council went into emergency session, and high UN officials — all the way up to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon —  bestirred themselves to stop the hostilities. Within days, that produced an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire deal. But by February, Prosor had to resume his letter-writing campaign. Hamas-controlled Gaza had resumed its rocket attacks on Israel.

The pace of the rocket attacks is picking up. Prosor’s latest letter, dated April 4, notes that “Over the past four days, Gaza terrorists have fired 11 rockets and mortar shells at Israeli civilians and cities. Yesterday, two of these rockets landed near the Israeli town of Sderot just as children were making their way to school for the first time since the Passover holiday.” The children and their families ended up racing for the bomb shelters that are a staple of life in Sderot, which is located within easy range of Gaza.

Urging the Security Council to condemn these attacks, Prosor writes that “The only thing more deafening than the sirens that go off in Israel when a rocket is fired is the international community’s silence.”

Actually, Prosor is being more than polite in his summary of the UN scene. While the Security Council may shrug off Gaza rocket attacks on Israel (unless Israel acts to defend itself), some UN officials have been piping up. On April 3, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, urged that there be restraint — not by the terrorists, but by Israel.

To be fair to Serry, he also said that the UN “condemns the indiscriminate firing of rockets into civilian areas.”  But that’s the stock formulation in such UN statements. There’s no sign that the terrorist overlords of Gaza are particularly concerned about such toothless UN locutions.

On the other hand, the accompanying UN references to Israel have been evolving since February, in a direction that places the onus ever more heavily on Israel — the UN member state that is under attack. Back in February, Serry labeled the resumed rocket fire out of Gaza “totally unacceptable,” and the UN press office headline for his statement was, “UN voices concern as rocket fire from Gaza hits southern Israel, breaking ceasefire.” By March, a UN spokesperson was urging “restraint by all parties.” Now, in April, comes Serry’s statement, for which the UN press office headline is no longer calling for restraint from all parties, but instead homes in on just one: “UN envoy condemns rocket firing from Gaza, calls for restraint from Israel.” One might well wonder — were these rocket-firing Palestinian terrorists attacking UN offices, instead of Israeli schoolchildren, would UN officials still be demanding that the party under attack be the one to show restraint? Or would they perhaps be demanding in no uncertain terms that someone restrain the terrorists?