House Foreign Affairs Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican
CONTACT: Brad Goehner, (202) 226-8467, May 6, 2009 Alex Cruz, (202) 225-8200
For IMMEDIATE Release
Ros-Lehtinen Comments on UN Board’s Call for Reparations from Israel
http://foreignaffairs.republicans.house.gov – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commented today on a UN board of inquiry’s call for the UN to seek reparations from Israel for damages incurred in Gaza during Israel’s defensive military campaign last winter. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: – which has allegedly not even been provided to the U.S. and other UN member states, despite likely being paid for by U.S. taxpayer dollars.
“The UN’s assessment of last winter’s defensive military campaign by Israel against Hamas and other Islamist militants in Gaza is so biased, faulty, and incomplete that the Secretary-General himself had to back away from it.
“It is irresponsible, hasty and dangerous for UN officials to call for reparations from Israel based on this deeply flawed report
“The responsibility for the conflict rests solely with Hamas and its ilk. Hamas’s incessant rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and use of human shields gave Israel no choice but to root out these extremists and their deadly military capabilities. Still, the democratic State of Israel went to great lengths to prevent the loss of innocent life.
“The UN panel’s whitewashing of Hamas is outrageous, but comes as no surprise given the UN’s track-record of anti-Israel, pro-Islamist extremist bias.
“Congress must demand better by enacting pending legislation that would leverage our contributions to the UN to produce sweeping, meaningful reform of that body.
“Likewise, when considering the proposed budget, Congress must not provide further U.S. taxpayer dollars to UN agencies, like UNRWA, that propagate anti-Israel bias and fail to uproot violent extremism.”
Background: A UN board of inquiry has concluded that Israel deliberately attacked UN facilities during its defensive Operation Cast Lead in December and January. The board has recommended that the UN seek reparations from Israel for damages and civilian casualties incurred. The committee’s report, which largely fails to mention repeated Hamas rocket and mortar attacks against Israeli civilians, was presented to the UN Security Council this week.
Note: Ros-Lehtinen is the author of the United Nations Transparency, Accountability and Reform Act (H.R. 557), which conditions U.S. funding to the UN on the implementation of concrete, sweeping reforms to root out ongoing fraud, corruption, and abuse throughout the UN system. This bill also seeks to combat anti-Israel, anti-Semitic bias within the UN, and conditions U.S. aid to UNRWA on that agency taking a number of steps to prevent its resources from supporting Foreign Terrorist Organizations.