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December 24, 2004

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J 04 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 24, 2004 PAGE 13 By Michael J. Jordan NEW YORK (JTA)--It was only three years ago that Iran's influential ex-president, Ak- bar Hashemi Rafsanjani, urged the Islamic world to develop nuclear weapons in order to annihilate Israel. It might seem like nothing more than inflated rhetoric. But add the fact that many believe Tehran is stringing the West along while it races to produce a nuclear weapon, and is funneling all sorts of ~veaponry and money to ter- rorist groups that attack Is- rael, and Rafsanjani'swords ]take on a far more sinister least Still, would that be enough for Israel to launch a pre- emp - tire strike on Iran under a Proposal for United Nations reform that would allow states to lash out against "latent" threats to their security? The United Nations recently released a series of recommen- dations aimed at making its ~ecurity Council more re- to the "nightmare Scenarios" confronting the World today--a combustible Cocktail of terrorists, weapons ~f mass destruction and irre- Also of interest in the report a proposed expansion of Security Council from 15 proposed ~efinition of terrorism. Significantly, the new proposal goes beyond the [U.N. Charter, which outlines [~ member states right to e t~. If-defense agamst tm- ,~'i~finent" threats. If adopted, ::Ithe proposal for the first time Would endorse preventive ac- tion against latent threats h well. But how to define a latent threat? If Israel were to take ~ut Iran's nuclear program-- h it did to Iraq's in a surprise ~ttack in 1981--would the defend Israel from one-sided condemnation. Nothing in the new re- port--titled "A More Secure World'--suggests the break- up of that core quintet, as only Russia has seemed willing to extend veto power to addi- tional nations. Not surprisingly, the five more often than not vote in their national, rather than global, interest. That self-in- terest, embodied by the veto, will determine whether or not the council acts when crises emerge. In March, U.N. Secre- tary-General Kofi Annan is expected to issue his own recommendations in re- sponse to the report. Then the report--produced by a 16- member panel that included former U.S. national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, for- mer Russian Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov, former Chinese Vice-Premier Qian Qichen, and Amr Moussa, an Egyptian diplomat who heads the Arab League--will come up for debate in the fall when the U.N. General Assembly convenes for its 60th annual session. Adoption of any related resolution would require two-thirds support from the 191-member General Assembly. Much attention will center on the report's five "criteria of legitimacy" for using force: se- riousness of the threat, proper purpose, last resort, propor- tional means and balance of consequences. However, the devil is in the details, critics say: Each cri- terion is vague enough that it will be open to interpretation and politicization. For example, who decides when a threat is latent or serious, or when all non- military means have been exhausted? [Rove be sanctioned and the As it is, Germany, France ]Jewish state applauded? and Britain currently seem i Given the U.N.s often hos- determined to give Iran ev- ]tilestancetowardIsrael--and ery chance to cease nuclear [~fter Washington skirted activities to avoid Security Council and the definition of terrorism. When the United Nations was created in 1945, the Security Council was formed with five permanent and six nonpermanent members. In 1965 it expanded to its pres- ent 15-member size, with 10 countries holding rotating, two-year seats drawn from five regional groupings, in addition to the five perma- nent members. The report proposes ex- panding the council to 24, including six new permanent members, or with new region- ally distributed seats renew- able every four years. Critics long have said that the system of five permanent members was fossilized in 1945 and mostly represents the industrialized Northern Hemisphere. The developing world con- tends that the council should be more inclusive and bal- anced, especially since most of its decisions affect the poorer, Southern Hemisphere. Leading the charge to ex- pand permanent membership are India, Brazil and economic powers Germany and Japan. Israel for years was the only country in the world ineligible to serve on the council because the Arab world barred it from the Asia Group. Today, Israel's membership in the Western European and Others Group places it on a waiting list that might see Israel finally sit on the council---but not before 2018. With the council accused of being ineffective in con- fronting international crises, American critics from left and right contend that expansion simply will mean more chat- ter, more lobbying, more debates--and less action. [~ bitterly divided Security Council sanctions, despite Jake Fishman, a student [(~Ouncil to invade Iraq last skepticismthatIran's nuclear inTemple Israel Longwood's [~tar--manyareskepticalthat program really is for peaceful religious school, read the ]!he council ever would unite purposes, following poem to Rabbi |l~ support of a pre-emptive Just as it would be remark- Richard Chizever at Shab- [ISraeli attack able iflsraelwere towin over bat services during Rabbi . A spokesperson mr tsrae~ ~ the Security Council with an |U.N. mission refused to corn- argument for military action, Rabbi Chizever: photo by Ky Chung/UN The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopts a resolution condemning ter- rorism on Oct. 8. Pro-Israel advocates have expressed concern that expansion could dilute the U.S. veto, though the panel explicitly states that no more vetoes should be awarded. Hoenlein and others, though, envision greater potential for anti-Israeli rhetoric and a situation where Washington may appear more isolated: Instead of 14-1 votes against Israel, with the United States registering dissent, they may be 23-1. But one analyst suggests some upside for Israel. "I'm not saying Germany is Israel's 'ally,' but there has been some positive glimmer of support lately," said Scott Lasensky, a Middle East expert at the U.S. Institute of Peace. "And with Indian- Israeli relations growing, the margins of this proposal might provide something positive to Israel." Some Chizever's installation week- end December 3 - 4. The chil- dren of the religious school presented the rabbi with a child-sized table and chairs for his office. !~ent until the report had the new formula for interven- Your installation is a special day, 2p:en fully reviewed. But one tion might easily be turned We're glad you're here andgoing to stay. /ItJ.N. source, who requested against Israel, says Malcolm We have a gift from our religious school, [~nonymity, said, "When it Hoenlein, executive vice To give to our Rabbi who is very cool. lt0rnes to a latent threat, the chairmanoftheConferenceof It's a table and chairs that's just our size, ]threshold would be so high Presidents of MajorAmerican Now we ll tell you why this gift is so wise. [that a country would never Jewish Organizations. Your new office is so fancy and new, [get international backing to "What happens when they When we come to see you we re not sure what to do. ~a " "" | ke~tlegal. If Israel were want to apply this to Israel, Now that we have our own place to sit and not crouch, lhactunilaterally,"thesource that the security fence is a We can keep our sticky fingers off your fine upholstered ~id "" | . it would be considered 'latent threat,' that targeted couch. |!l~ariah and to have engaged assassinations are a 'latent The table has pictures of us and of you, ]l~an illegalaction. The whole threat?'" Hoenlein asked. Learning and playing the way that we do. [theory is, even i! there's a la- Israel's enemies also might We hope that you love it and it brings you good cheer, ]~nt. threat you d still need seek to describe Israel's pre- Congratulations dear RabbL we re glad that you're here/ |~lobal consensus and for the sumed nuclear arsenal as a | ~Uncil to approve it. So for latent threat to the region.I i]!II practical purposes, we're "This would be one more ~t |~ he same place we started, vehicle, more cover, for them ~deed, the reform proposal to attack Israel," Hoenlein ~|[~ffirms the centrality of said. |~el~ Security Council as final The report deals not only !rbiter in matters of war and i~rt ce"]~ with so-called hard threats" to international peace like ter- rorists and WMDs, but also endorses a more proactive Security Council stance in the face of genocide, ethnic cleansing and "soft threats" like poverty and HIV/AIDS. There are two other key aspects of the report~ex- pansion of the Security Rabbi RICHARD CHIZEVER (1) and JAKE FISHMAN enjoy the rabbi's new furnitu . | Therein lies the rub for Is- !|~el: Of the five permanent, i O-bearing Security Coun- 1 111 members the United tates, Great Britain, France, ,aSsia and China--only the | aited States is particularly of Israeli actions, r/%Portive |~['. " . l"ent brandtshmg its veto to Jewish observers saw more good news in the proposed definition of terrorism. U.N. debate often has broken down over the Arab-Muslim bloc's assertion that "resistance to occupation" justifies any methods used by "freedom fighters"--oblique but obvi- ous backing for Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israel. Annan in recent years has said that nothing justifies at- tacking civilians for political purposes. The reform panel, which Annan appointed, em- braced his position. Moussa, the panel's only Arab member, reportedly threatened to walk out of negotiations. In a recent editorial, the Forward called the report's definition of terrorism as Annan's "Chanukah gift" to pro-Israel supporters. But such celebration may be premature. Perhaps as a harbinger of Muslim dissent next fall, the Saudi news service SANA on Sunday, Dec. 5 quoted Moussa as citing the need "to distinguish between terrorism and resistance," and said that "resisting the Israeli occupation is not considered as terrorism." It's unclear which, if any, of the report's recommendations will survive General Assembly debate. Regardless, a dramatic change in tone toward Israel is unlikely. "As far as the United Na- tions being a hostile body to Israel, I can't expect that to change much," said Jonathan Lincoln, a senior research as- sociate for Middle East Stud- ies at the Council on Foreign Relations. "Only if Israel were to change its policy, to con- form with what concessions to the Palestinians the U.N. has demanded of it." 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