UN questioned by Prosor on 'untold stories' of Jews from Arab lands

By Jennifer Lipman, April 25, 2012
Ron Prosor

Ron Prosor

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations has called for the international body to move on from "myths" about the Middle East in order to take an honest look at Israel and its neighbours.

Ron Prosor, who took on the role after stepping down as envoy to the UK, highlighted the many other problems and conflicts in the Arab world in a speech to the UN Security Council.

Speaking as Israel prepared for Yom Hazikaron, the day on which the state honours its fallen soldiers, he said: "It is important for Israel and the Palestinians to resolve our longstanding conflict for its own merits.

"Yet, the truth is that conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain, and many other parts of the Middle East have nothing to do with Israel."

He went on: "Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict won't stop the persecution of minorities across the region, end the subjugation of women, or heal sectarian divides. Obsessing over Israel has not stopped Assad's tanks from flattening entire communities."

In a speech that also covered the Iranian nuclear threat, settlement building and the Palestinian refusal to "recognise Israel's right to exist as the nation-state of the Jewish people", Mr Prosor dismissed claims that aid and civilian goods could not enter the Gaza Strip.

"It is a simple equation," he said, noting that the Security Council had not condemned any rocket attacks from Gaza. "If it is calm in Israel, it will be calm in Gaza. But the people of Gaza will face hardship as long as terrorists use them as human shields to rain rockets down on Israeli cities."

He also emphasised the "850,000 untold stories" in the many documents the UN has written about Israel and the Palestinians, of Jews who were "uprooted from their homes in Arab countries during the past 64 years".

"These were vibrant communities dating back 2,500 years," he said. "The pages that the UN has written about the Palestinian refugees could fill up soccer stadiums, but not a drop of ink has been spilled about the Jewish refugees."

Mr Prosor also said that direct negotiations were "the only tool, the only way and the only path to create two states for two people.

"It is time for this Council to sweep out the cobwebs of old illusions - and plant the seeds for a truly "open" debate on the Middle East," he said.

Last updated: 4:48pm, April 25 2012