UN Special Rapporteurs are mandated to conduct fact-finding missions and bring to the United Nations informed and independent judgments. On November 5, Mr. John Dugard, the UN’s Special Rapporteur for issues of human rights in the West Bank and Gaza, will present to the UN General Assembly a report that omits crucial and obvious facts and contradicts UN reporting policy on terrorism.
Analysis: One day before the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the United Nations’ Policy Working Group on the United Nations and Terrorism issued a report that included the following statement: “In its public pronouncements, the United Nations should project a clear and principled message, underscoring the unacceptability of terrorism … These messages must be targeted to key audiences – particularly to achieve a greater impact in dissuading would-be supporters of terrorist acts.”
An advance copy of Mr. Dugard’s report shows utter disregard for UN policy as well as common sense. He demonstrates such willful ignorance of the threat and motivation of Palestinian terrorist organizations that the report could only have been written in bad faith.
Mr. Dugard’s most recent trip to Israel and the West Bank took place August 25-30. Four days before he arrived, two car bombs were intercepted by Israeli soldiers near Jenin. This security operation was reported in The Jerusalem Post, a leading English-language Israeli newspaper. Four days after Mr. Dugard left, a car bomb containing 600 kg of explosives was stopped at a roadblock. This incident was reported by the BBC. Ignoring these incidents, Mr. Dugard describes Israeli closures as “so disproportionate, so remote from the interests of security, that one is led to ask whether they are not in part designed to punish, humiliate, and subjugate the Palestinian people.” As for the roadblocks themselves, he fails to make even one mention of the fact that they have thwarted dozens of suicide bombings this year, though media reports to substantiate these facts are easily accessible in English for anyone inclined to look. Instead Mr. Dugard offers only three sentences, written more in the style of an aspiring novelist than a fact-finder: “A group of young soldiers, with the arrogance of adolescence or its immediate aftermath, in dusty uniforms with ominous rifles over their shoulders, entrusted with arbitrary power over the movement of the people of Palestine. Long lines of vehicles or people presenting papers to soldiers behind concrete blocks, all aware that their movement is completely in the hands of these young foreign soldiers. The arrogance of the occupier and the humiliation of the occupied.” That’s all.
To explain and excuse Palestinian terror, Mr. Dugard postulates that it is “the hopelessness of despair which leads inexorably to suicide bombings.” While the admittedly miserable situation of the Palestinians may generate more recruits for Islamic terror organizations, clearly the ideology of jihad is the motive of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Again Mr. Dugard ignores readily available documents and statements of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the main perpetrators of suicide bombings. Easily found on terrorism-related web sites, the English translation of the Hamas Charter states: “To face the usurpation of Palestine by Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad.” Mr. Dugard also managed to overlook a Hamas statement, after the Hebrew University bombing on August 1, that Jews should leave Israel and “return to where they came from.” And this statement was reported in the English-language press. Only gross incompetence or willful ignorance can explain Mr. Dugard’s omission of these facts.
Mr. Dugard’s report is a disgrace to the institution of UN Special Rapporteurs. In addition, his “see no evil” approach to Palestinian terror contradicts each of the UN Policy Working Group’s criteria for UN reporting on terror: clarity, principle, unacceptability of terrorism, and dissuasion. Mr. Dugard should resign without delay.