Salomon Benzimra writes to Ban Ki-Moon
In your latest speech in Beirut on January 15, 2012, you declared that “Settlements, new and old, are illegal.” This is not new, as you expressed a similar opinion at a press conference at the UN in December, 2010, where you condemned “all settlement construction, including construction in East Jerusalem.”
Repetition of a falsehood does not make it true. Of all institutions, the United Nations should be particularly aware of the legacy of past agreements enshrined in international law and of the immutable acquired rights of peoples, as spelled out in the UN Charter. By condemning specifically the construction of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria – a territory commonly known by its unfortunate misnomer, “the West Bank” – you are advocating a return to the untenable ethnic cleansing that prevailed prior to 1967.
Besides, this is not the first time where you brandish, rather thoughtlessly, the illegality of an action undertaken by the Israeli government. In June, 2010, following the “flotilla” events on the MS Mavi Marmara, you joined the chorus of baseless accusations of Israel. You were “shocked” by the intervention of the Israeli Navy and you supported the views of your trusted collaborators Navi Pillay, High Commissioner of the UNHRC (“The Israeli Government treats international law with perpetual disdain”) and Richard Falk, Special Rapporteur (“It is essential that those Israelis responsible for this lawless and murderous behavior…be held criminally accountable for their wrongful acts.”). However, a year later, your own Palmer Commission restored some sanity when it clearly concluded that “the naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”
I trust you will do the honorable thing and withdraw your sweeping declaration on the “settlements.” For the sake of UN credibility, I urge you to refrain from adopting the triumphant, passing lies which are so pervasive in anti-Israel circles and not to echo in your statements the idiotic applause you may have received from your audience in Beirut.
Salomon Benzimra, P.Eng.
Toronto – Canada