The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized the United Nations report which criticizes Israel for military measures adopted against the May 15 demonstrators actually, illegal border-crossers from Lebanon who attempted to enter en masse Israeli territory for the purpose of staging a violent demonstration and anti-Israel media event. At the same time, the ZOA has pointed to the deafening silence of the UN over murderous Syrian repression at home, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of demonstrators in Syria.
On May 15, some 1,000 Lebanese demonstrators approached the Israeli border, unearthed 23 anti-tank landmines and started throwing petrol bombs and stones across the border fence. Israeli soldiers issued oral warnings and fired shots in the air at first, then fired with live ammunition when the demonstrators massed at the border. The ZOA is highly critical of this UN report, which alleges that both Israel and the protesters violated UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Lebanese war, when in fact Israel was lawfully resisting a violent incursion. The report claims that other than firing in the air, Israel did not use conventional crowd control methods or any other method than lethal weapons against the demonstrators (Isabel Kershner, U.N. Report Criticizes Israel for Actions at Border, New York Times, July 7, 2011).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, The United Nations fixation with Israel to the exclusion of almost all other conflicts and issues is evident here when it issues a condemnation of Israeli forces lawfully protecting it border from an unprovoked and violent breach by demonstrators organized by, among others, the terrorist group Hizballah. After oral warnings and shots in the air failed to deter incursion, the Israeli forces had no choice but to use live fire, as indeed responsible forces patrolling any border would do in a comparable situation. Once demonstrators use bombs, conventional methods of crowd control, like batons and shields, become irrelevant. Moreover, this was not a demonstration of its own citizens, however violent, but of foreigners attempting to breach a border and all states enjoy an absolute right to prevent this.
The UN report never criticized Hizballah for organizing the event, only Israel for responding to it. The most it was prepared to do was to criticize the conduct of some of the violent demonstrators. Meanwhile, while the UN is probing Syrias covert nuclear activities for which it is receiving no cooperation from Damascus there has been no UN condemnation of its murderous repression of its own in recent months.
Israeli forces were well within their rights to use force in order to prevent a breach and violent incursion across the border into Israel. It is not incumbent on the defense forces of any country to await an actual incursion. In any case, were the Lebanese government abiding faithfully by the terms of UNSC 1701, the Lebanese border area would be thoroughly and effectively patrolled by Lebanese armed forces as well as UNIFIL troops, whose job after all is to keep the peace. If they were doing their duty, violent mass demonstrations simply could not be organized and proceed to the point that petrol bombs are being flung at Israeli border patrols and hundreds of angry demonstrators are about to breach the actual border fence. The UN report should be condemning the bad faith, inaction and ineffectiveness of the responsible Lebanese forces and their own UNIFIL troops. Of course, there was no chance that the report would condemn UNIFIL, because it is UNIFI that conducted the investigation and produced the report. Its long past time that a credible report was conducted independently into the abysmal conduct of UNIFIL.