UN’s Ban Ki Moon Comes To The Defence Of Israel

   A United Nations inquiry concluded that Israel’s military forces carried out direct and intentional strikes on its premises during the assault on Gaza earlier this year. Israel was therefore responsible for the deaths and injuries of UN personnel and civilians, as well as extensive damage to its property.

The inquiry, led by Ian Martin, a former secretary general of Amnesty International, found that the Israel Defence Force (IDF) was “involved in varying degrees of negligence or recklessness with regard to United Nations premises and to the safety of United Nations staff and other civilians within those premises, with consequent deaths, injuries, and extensive physical damage and loss of property.”

This included:

• The deaths of three young men killed by a single IDF missile strike at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Asma school in Gaza City.

• The firing of heavy mortar rounds into the UNRWA Jabalia school, injuring seven people sheltering in the school, killing up to 40 people in the immediate vicinity and injuring a further 50.

• Aerial bombing of the UNRWA Bureij health centre on the same day, causing the death of a patient, serious injuries to two other patients and injuries to nine of the health centre’s employees.

• Small arms firing on a UNRWA convoy in Ezbet Abed Rabou, leading to a temporary suspension of its transport, and disruption of its humanitarian operations.

• Artillery firing by the IDF into the UNRWA field office compound in Gaza city, combined with the use of white phosphorous, causing injuries and considerable damage to it and the surrounding buildings, and leading to the disruption of the UN’s humanitarian operations in Gaza.

• Artillery firing by the IDF into the UNRWA Beit Lahia school, again with the use of white phosphorous, causing the deaths of two children and the injuries to 13 others.

• Aerial bombing by the IDF of the Unesco compound, causing damage to UN buildings and vehicles.

The report accused Israeli forces of repeatedly breaching the principle that “UN personnel and all civilians within UN premises, as well as civilians in the immediate vicinity of those premises, are to be protected in accordance with the rules and principles of international humanitarian law.”

It found no evidence that Hamas militants had used UN property to attack Israel or the IDF and demanded that the UN urge Israel to retract its allegations that Palestinians had fired from two UN run buildings.

Despite the gravity of these findings, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon bowed to pressure from the United States and Israel, and moved swiftly to try and draw a line under the whole affair.

He rejected—without any explanation—the inquiry’s key recommendation that there should be a broader investigation into Israel’s conduct during the assault on Gaza and allegations of violations of international humanitarian law, including its use of white phosphorous. Instead, he would seek $10.4 million compensation from Israel for damage to UN property.

Even then, Ban did everything he could to limit its remit and impact. He restricted its terms of reference to include only those attacks on UN property and personnel, since this undermined the authority of the UN itself. Even then he named just nine such incidents. Yet, as the inquiry notes, there were attacks on 36 of UNRWA schools, five of which were being used as temporary shelters at the time, seven of the 17 UNRWA health centres and two of the 11 UNRWA distribution centres, leading to deaths, injuries and extensive physical damage.

Neither the 184-page report, nor its 27-page summary is available on the UN website. The full report has not been published, while the summary was produced, not by the inquiry team but by the secretary general and given to journalists at his press conference.

The release of the inquiry’s findings was delayed for several days as Ban sought to water-down the report. He made every effort to accommodate Israel’s sensibilities. He thanked Israel in the most obsequious terms for its co-operation in the inquiry. He made a point—urged on him by Israeli ministers and officials—of speaking out against “continued and indiscriminate” attacks by Hamas. But above all, he said what they wanted to hear: “I do not plan any further enquiries.”

This time, rather than wait for the US to veto any further action against Israel, Ban himself ruled out any further action that might lead to Israel being charged with war crimes.

Despite his best efforts to appease Israel, the government of Binyamin Netanyahu rejected the report’s findings. A spokesman for Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of the far right Yisrael Beiteinu condemned the report as “unbalanced, biased and oblivious to the facts… It has preferred the claims of Hamas, a murderous terror organisation, and by doing so has misled the world.”

Defence Secretary Ehud Barak of Labour repeated his absurd claim that Israel has “the most moral army in the world” and laid full responsibility for casualties on Hamas.

Source: www.wsws.org


One Response to UN’s Ban Ki Moon Comes To The Defence Of Israel

  1. Pingback: UN’s Gaza War Crimes Investigation Faces Obstacles « Bajan Global Report

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