New York, NY, September 4, 2003 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today criticized as "one-sided, biased and counterproductive" a message on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan delivered to the U.N. International Conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People, which has convened in New York.
In his message to the opening session, delivered by Kieran Prendergast, Undersecretary General for Political Affairs, Mr. Annan first stressed the "settlement expansion and the construction of bypass roads" and the construction of a security fence along the border between Israel and the West Bank as "serious impediments to the Road Map," before mentioning the need for an end to Palestinian terror.
Mr. Annan also referred to a "cycle of violence" and blamed the breakdown of the ceasefire on "repeated incursions into Palestinian cities, targeted assassinations and other retaliatory measures…", while speaking only in general terms about Palestinian "bombs."
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
We are deeply troubled that Kofi Annan has reverted to the old argument of moral equivalency in his public statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while giving Palestinian terrorism second billing to his biased and offensive charge that Israeli settlements are causing the breakdown in the peace process. It is a one-sided presentation and it is offensive and counterproductive.
When the Secretary General gives such one-sided and offensive assessments of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it undermines the credibility of the United Nations to be a partner in the peace process, especially when the forum is a conference that has served in the past as a vehicle for anti-Israel propaganda. The imprimatur of his office on this one-sided conference undermines the U.N.'s efforts to be engaged in mediating the fragile Israeli-Palestinian peace process.