Column: When Russia, China Chide Israel for ‘Inhumane Operation’

‘It is fundamentally important to vote in favour of peace’

– Vasily Nebenzia of Russia, after U.N. Security Council vote for Mid-East cease-fire

Ukraine remains in pieces after the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, admonished Israel for its “inhumane…operation against the Palestinians.” It was an absurdist note that Nebenzia injected when the U.N. Security Council voted on Monday for an “immediate cease-fire” between Israel and Hamas.

It was the second of two U.N.S.C. sessions when delegates for the world’s two most powerful tyrannies voted for positions that Israel opposed; Israel was not even authorized to cast a vote.

The world was treated to these shocking spectacles on Friday and Monday when Russia and China helped shape conditions that could harm Israel. Can anyone stomach it when Russia and China dictate ethics to Israel?

Russian President Vladmir Putin has been doing his best the last two years to bomb Ukraine into the Stone Age. In preparation for its hoped-for conquest of Taiwan, China sends Coast Guard patrols toward a Taiwan-controlled island, and elsewhere holds Muslim Uyghurs in detention camps and cracks down on the freedoms that Hong Kong residents enjoyed when it was a British colony.

Monday morning, the Security Council voted 14-0 to demand an “immediate cease-fire” in Gaza for the remainder of the Muslim Ramadan observance, which ends in early April. The United States abstained even though it could have vetoed the measure, which infuriated Israeli leaders. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately canceled a meeting between Israeli and U.S. officials over a planned military operation in southern Gaza, and on Wednesday agreed to reschedule.

Last Friday, Russia and China vetoed a draft resolution proposed by the United States for “an immediate and sustained ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas.

I would not try to justify Israel’s actions in Gaza. On its own, that situation requires much sorting out. All the same, the differences between Israel and these Pacific Ocean bullies are striking.

Need we remind anyone that Israel is a democracy? Israel has no constitution or First Amendment like America, but its citizens can dissent on Israeli policies without being tossed in prison. Putin was re-elected without contending with his most serious opponent, Alexei Navalny, on account of Navalny’s mysterious death at a Russian prison.

China has detained an estimated 1 million Uyghurs in camps in the western province of Xinjiang and is pressuring Hong Kong officials to enact a law which could compel life imprisonment for political crimes such as treason, The New York Times reports.

Both Israel and Russia took steps that killed thousands of civilians in their military conflicts with Hamas and Ukraine.  Israel’s war was thrust upon it when Hamas terrorists swept across the border last Oct. 7 from Gaza into cities and villages 45 miles south of Tel Aviv. They slaughtered 1,200 Jews and others and then dragged 240 more of them into Gaza where they hid many hostages in their vast tunnel network.

So far, Hamas returned 100 Israelis during a temporary cease-fire, but they are still holding another 100 or more. Some have died in captivity.

Israel struck Gaza hard with the intent of eliminating Hamas to ensure that it cannot raid Israel again. To do so, Israel needed to deal with some cruel, strange tactics. Hamas used Gaza residents as human shields, meaning that Israel could only reach Hamas terrorists by risking civilians lives. Israel Defense Forces also needed to search through the underground tunnels to find Hamas terrorists.

Russia had no plausible reason for invading Ukraine. Putin believed that Ukraine has always been part of Russia. He wanted Ukraine back and Ukrainians wanted to keep their new-found freedom.

Putin has seized segments of Ukrainian lands and has strived to turn Ukraine into a wasteland. He did not even tell his soldiers where they were being sent. Many Russian soldiers fought in Ukraine only because they were forced to do so, and Hamas terrorists fought because they were brainwashed from birth to hate Israel. Both Israeli and Ukrainian risk their lives because they love their countries and are protecting their freedoms.

The U.N.’s own website recounts that Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzia voiced disappointment with Monday’s resolution because the council dropped Russia’s demand for a “permanent” cease-fire. He still voted for the final version “even if it is limited to the month of Ramadan. What happens after that ends remains unclear since the word ‘lasting’ could be interpreted in various ways.”

He warned, “Those who are providing cover for Israel still want to give it a free hand,” and expressed hope that the wording in the measure “will be used in the interests of peace rather than advancing the inhumane Israeli operation against the Palestinians.”

Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun called the U.S.’s resolution from Friday “evasive and ambiguous,” adding, “For the lives that have already perished, the Council resolution today comes too late…all harm to civilians must cease immediately.”

Last Friday, Nebenzia mocked Washington for broaching a ceasefire after “Gaza has been virtually wiped off the face of the Earth,” according to Agence France-Presse.

As Israel’s main ally, the United States had vetoed previous calls for cease-fires before it introduced a cease-fire measure on Friday. It would be the first time that the Security Council would condemn the original Hamas raid, according to AFP.

“We have observed a typical hypocritical spectacle,” Nebenzia said. He accused the U.S. of intending to “play to voters and throw them a bone in the form of some kind of a mention of a cease-fire in Gaza.”

President Biden is being pressured by pro-Palestinian voters who threaten to sit out the presidential election, which would benefit Biden’s likely rival, Donald J. Trump. The draft does not explicitly demand that Israel immediately end its military drive in Gaza, but it links a cease-fire to ongoing talks to halt fighting in return for a hostage release, AFP reported.

The U.S. resolution would have marked the first time any U.N. body denounced the Hamas raid, noted Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan, according to the Associated Press. Its failure to be adopted, he said, is “a stain that will never be forgotten.”

Jun said the draft “dodged the most central issue, that of a cease-fire” through its “ambiguous” language.

Wrong, Zhang Jun. The central issue is upholding the international tradition of ganging up on Israel. What sympathy does he have for residents of Kinmen Island, part of Taiwan, who are being harassed by China Coast Guard patrols?

Does Nebenzia’s sympathy for the people of Gaza match his sympathy for Tanya Voropanova and her 4-year-old daughter, Eleanora? A Washington Post article reports on how she copes with her husband’s disappearance in November 2022 when he was defending Ukraine.

Creation of the United Nations was a noble feat after World War II, but today’s tyrants have taken over. The very tyrants that the U.N. was formed to confront in a civilized forum.

About Bruce Ticker

Bruce S. Ticker, who writes from Philadelphia, also blogs for The San Diego Jewish World and Smirking Chimp and previously for the suspended Philadelphia Jewish Voice. He was previously a reporter and copy editor for daily newspapers in eastern Pennsylvania.

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