I'm Dreaming of a UNHRC Solution
I was tired of reading about unpleasant events and situations: the slavery in Mauritania; the more than 90,000 Sahrawi refugees living in Algeria and unable to return to their homes in West Sahara; the unending violence in the Congo; the slaughter of Christians by Muslims in the ethnic war in Nigeria; the bitter insurgency in Yemen; the control of Tibet by China; the abominable caste system in India; the speeches and actions group of “non-aligned countries,” always anti-Western in their decisions and policies.
I fell asleep and had the craziest dream, yes I did. I was in Geneva at the headquarters of the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the body of 47 members, of whom 26 come from African and Asian-Pacific countries and only 7 from Western Europe, listening to some of the discussions on resolutions, most of which were not concerned, as they usually are, with the violations of human rights by the government and citizens of the State of Israel.
I had difficulty believing my dream. The resolutions and discussions I was hearing addressed issues in a number of other countries.
The first dream was a resolution to condemn the war and to end the slaughter that had resulted in more than 200,000 killed in Syria. Citizens and foreigners involved in the fighting had been cloaking their fanaticism by claiming to be participating in a crusade on behalf of the true faith. The resolution called for the resettling of the more than eight million refugees displaced from their homes by the zealous warriors on both sides who were supporting or rebelling against the regime of the peace-minded, loveable, and tolerant President Bashar al-Assad.
Linked to this was the dream that the UNHRC was discussing reconciliation between two Palestinian groups who cannot live together in peace and who refuse to enter into negotiations with Israel. The eloquent expressions were for reconciliation between the members of the Fatah movement led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, still in the tenth year of his four-year term of office, and Hamas, the rival Islamist terrorist group that controls and occupies the Gaza Strip.
It was troubling that in mid-December, less than two weeks before Christmas, Hamas had not prevented a rally in Gaza City on December 14, 2014 of the followers of Mohammad Dahlan, the former senior Fatah official, now exiled, who is the political rival of Abbas. It was pitiful that those supporters waved banners showing a noose around the neck of Abbas, who had “marginalized Gaza.” Yet UNHRC members appreciated this savagery as understandable because Abbas had accused Dahlan, not the Israeli Mossad, of poisoning and murdering the great leader, Yasser Arafat.
UNHRC members expressed disappointment that the rival two factions, Fatah and Hamas, have failed to reach agreement on the merger of the civil service and security forces in Gaza. Members felt depressed that Abbas would not pay the former Hamas government employees, who in any case had not been working. But they felt it heartening that both Fatah and Hamas applauded the fact that so many hundreds of Israeli Palestinians attend Israeli universities, not only in Haifa, but also throughout the country.
This dream continued with a related issue of reconstruction of Gaza. Discussion dealt with the fact that it was Egypt, not Israel, that controlled the Rafah crossing, the main transit point into Gaza. It also dwelled on the issue that the construction materials imported into Gaza would not be used to rebuild tunnels that Hamas had used for military operations against Israeli civilians.
The dream was troubled because of the thoughts of the unsettled relationship between Sunnis and Shias in the Middle East. In particular, it was vexing that an open and private war and a rivalry for regional hegemony was continuing between Saudi Arabia, the leading Sunni power, and the ambitious Shia Iran. Saudi Arabia seemed agitated by the increasing strength, cruelty, and belligerence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and its establishment of a caliphate. The dream was less troubled as UNHRC members praised Saudi Arabia. Some of them even imagined that the country might be improving the status of women by deciding to allow women to vote and to drive cars.
A more welcoming dream concerned UNHRC views of actions of Turkey. At long last, Turkey, in the dream, acknowledged responsibility for its massacre of Armenians, perhaps genocide, a century ago. The country had decided to grant, as a minimum gesture, self-determination to the Kurds in its midst. It also agreed to withdraw all its forces from the north part of Cyprus, which it has brutally occupied since 1974. The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was applauded for apologizing for the crushing by the Turkish police of the peaceful protests in Gezi Park in Istanbul in May and June 2013.
But then my dream became a nightmare. I dreamed of the beheading by Islamic terrorists of innocent people – not only the six Westerners murdered by the Islamic State, but also the hundreds of others, Muslims as well as Christians and Yazidis, in a Kurdish community. The dream was troubled by the memory of atrocities: the murders of two hostages in a café in Sydney, Australia on December 15-16, 2014; the killing of five and injuring of seven others on November 18, 2014 in the Har Nof synagogue in Jerusalem; the slaughter in a public school of 145 people, of whom 132 were schoolchildren and the others were members of the staff, in Pakistan on December 16, 2014; the kidnapping of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls in Chibok by Boko Haram on April 14-15, 2014; the killing of 47 and injuring of 79 in a Nigerian school in Potiskum on November 10, 2014; the execution by the Islamic State of more than 150 women and girls in Fallujah who refused to accept the policy of sexual jihad; the killing on March 1, 2014 by Muslims of 30 at the Kunming station in Yunnan province in China.
And at last, but not enough to erase the nightmares, the dream became more pleasant, because I dreamed that the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg overturned its own decision of December 17, 2014 and restored Hamas to the EU list of terrorist organizations. Do it, I said to the UNHRC, and make my craziest dreams come true. Please don’t say that this time the dream’s on me.