New York, NY, December 21, 2004 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called a United Nations report on conditions in Bethlehem "shocking and flagrantly biased."
According to ADL, "Costs of Conflict: The Changing Face of Bethlehem," released by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the U.N. Office of the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), on December 20, provides a one-sided analysis on the impact that Israeli policies have had on the economic and social decline in Bethlehem. The report blames Israeli settlements, security measures and travel restrictions for having severed the historical links between Bethlehem and Jerusalem and having caused economic failure which, according to the report was at the root of the emigration of a large percentage of Bethlehem's Christian population
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
The U.N. once again has taken a stand which sides blindly against the State of Israel. To blame the economic and social decline of Bethlehem solely on the security measures employed by Israel with no consideration of the Palestinian terror that necessitated these actions is shocking and flagrantly biased. Clearly, the timing of the report's release, several days before the Christmas holiday, is suspect.
Not only has Israel acted only in reaction to the terrorism confronting it, it has taken reasonable measures to try and ensure the economic and social normalcy for Palestinians, while safeguarding the lives of its own citizens. In fact, contrary to the implications of the report, the terrorism waged by the very people the report feels were adversely affected had an equally crushing impact on the Israeli economy.
It is disturbing to find that the U.N. report blames the dwindling of the Christian population in Bethlehem solely on the economic decline there ignoring the affects of Islamization on the Christian population -- a known and reported cause for Christian emigration.
The U.N.'s failure to address the real causes of the economic and social troubles in Bethlehem clearly demonstrates its bias against the State of Israel and acts to fan a sense of conflict at a time when a peaceful resolution seems most promising.