Published in Davar, March 21, 1954
Writing from his Sde Boker retreat, Ben-Gurion raised the question: “Is it possible to rely on the UN to protect the lives of Israeli citizens from murderous attacks, wholesale or isolated, by the neighboring Arab states which are declaring, from dawn to dusk, that their determined policy towards Israel is to wipe it off the map[?]” He warned against the danger of mistaking the current UN body as being capable of enforcing a world order against the persistence of individual state sovereignty. While the organization embodied the human desire for peace and the rule of international law, its sorry record included its inability to (a) deter the Arab states’ 1948 military defiance of the 1947 partition plan, (b) enforce compliance when Jordan ignored rulings about access to Mount Scopus, and (c) enforce Egyptian compliance with its obligations to allow Israeli ships free passage through the Suez Canal.
“There is no point and no use," he concluded, “in our expressing our moral outrage against the double standard in the Security Council or in the UN General Assembly. [- - -] No doubt the majority of the member-states of the UN have no interest in the murder of Israeli citizens, and the majority of the free peoples look negatively on the machinations of the Arab states in their economic boycott of Israel and in their violations of the Armistice Agreements and Security Council resolutions. But only political children will imagine that the great powers will spoil their relations with countries of the Arab League for the sake of protecting the lives of citizens of Israel. That task falls on the State of Israel itself, and only on it.
“Even a big power is not capable of protecting in every case the lives of its citizens. But we must wean ourselves off the foolish illusion, lacking the slightest basis in reality, that there exists in the world outside of Israel the power and the will to protect the lives of our citizens. Our ability to defend ourselves is our sole security.”