In the course of a war, there are often incidences where civilians are harmed. It is interesting to consider the United Nations responses to such attacks during recent battles.
- Saudi Arabia killed 41 civilians on March 16, 2016. The UN condemned the airstrike, but not Saudi Arabia that carried out the attack.
- Russia carried out attacks in Syria that killed 41 people, including 27 civilians on November 6, 2015. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon issued no statement.
- The USA bombed a medical facility run by Doctors Without Borders, killing 22 people on October 3, 2015. The UN condemned the attack, but not the United States.
- Israel attacked an UNRWA school, killing 10 people on August 3, 2014. The UN called out Israel for the “moral outrage and a criminal act.” Ban Ki Moon repeatedly stated that the Israelis responsibility was to protect Palestinian civilians, and made no mention of their actual responsibility to protect Israeli civilians.
Why can the UN Secretary General only recognize and call out an attacker in the case of Israel? Why are Palestinian civilians worthy of more protection and recognition than other civilians? Why is an attack on Palestinians uniquely a “moral outrage and criminal act?”
The Protector of One
The United Nations views itself as the guardians of the Palestinians uniquely; every other conflict in the world is between two independent warring parties.
The Palestinians have a unique definition of “refugee” and a unique relief agency (UNRWA) compared to every other actual refugee (UNHCR). This enables the United Nations to funnel money and assume a parental role of 5 million people instead of the actual 30,000 current Palestinian refugees from the 1948-9 war they initiated.
Therefore, when Palestinians are attacked, the UN views itself as attacked.
The United Nations adopted the Palestinians. They are the guardians of these Arab wards.
The UN’s outrage against Israel is unique in words, actions and intent. The Palestinians are part of UN’s family. As such, the UN is inherently an unqualified arbitrator in any dialogue between the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.
UN Statement on Saudi Arabia killing of 41 civilians in Yemen. KSA is not mentioned:
“The Secretary-General condemns the airstrikes that hit al-Khamees market in Mastaba district in the Hajjah province of Yemen yesterday. This incident is one of the deadliest – reportedly killing and wounding scores of civilians, including women and children – since the start of the conflict. This is the second major incident of this kind in just over two weeks.
The Secretary-General underscores to all parties the utmost necessity to fully respect their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights laws, including the fundamental rules of distinction, proportionality and precaution. Attacks directed against civilians and civilian objects, including populated markets, are strictly prohibited. The Secretary-General stresses that any intentional attack against civilians or civilian objects is a serious violation of international humanitarian law. It is critical to carry out prompt, effective, independent and impartial investigations into all allegations of serious violations.
The Secretary-General continues to urge all parties to the conflict to cease all military activities and to start to resolve all differences and outstanding issues in a new round of peaceful negotiations facilitated by his Special Envoy for Yemen.
The Secretary-General expresses his sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.”
UN Statement on US killing 22 people in hospital. USA is not mentioned:
“The Secretary-General strongly condemns the airstrikes in Kunduz, Afghanistan, that resulted in the death and injury of medical workers and patients at a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital on 3 October.
The Secretary-General recalls that hospitals and medical personnel are explicitly protected under international humanitarian law. He calls for a thorough and impartial investigation into the attack in order to ensure accountability. Médecins Sans Frontières have been operating the only hospital in Kunduz under extremely trying conditions. The Secretary-General commends the courageous and dedicated staff of the organization and extends his deepest sympathies to the families of those killed and injured in this attack.”
UN statement on Israel’s killing of 10 people near an UNRWA school. Calls out Israel and highlights Palestinian civilians.
“The Secretary-General strongly condemns the killing today of at least 10 Palestinian civilians in shelling outside of an UNRWA school in Rafah providing shelter to thousands of civilians. The attack is yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law, which clearly requires protection by both parties of Palestinian civilians, UN staff and UN premises, among other civilian facilities.
United Nations shelters must be safe zones not combat zones. The Israel Defence Forces have been repeatedly informed of the location of these sites. This attack, along with other breaches of international law, must be swiftly investigated and those responsible held accountable. It is a moral outrage and a criminal act.
The Secretary-General is profoundly dismayed over the appalling escalation of violence and loss of hundreds of Palestinian civilian lives since the breach of the humanitarian ceasefire on 1 August. The resurgence in fighting has only exacerbated the man-made humanitarian and health crisis wreaking havoc in Gaza. Restoring calm can be achieved through resumption of the ceasefire and negotiations by the parties in Cairo to address the underlying issues.
The Secretary-General repeats his demand to the parties to immediately end the fighting and return to the path of peace. This madness must stop.”
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