The United Kingdom’s United Nations Ambassador Lyall Grant, serving as this month’s president of the Security Council, said that the Security Council met on August 18th in closed consultative session following a public briefing on the Middle East by Robert Serry, the UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East. The main focus was on Gaza. The members discussed a number of parameters they considered necessary for a durable ceasefire in Gaza going forward.
“There would need to be guarantees for Israeli security, there would need to be an opening up of Gaza for greater economic activity, a return of the Palestinian Authority, verification and monitoring mechanisms,” Ambassador Grant told reporters following the Security Council’s closed door session.
Both Ambassador Grant, and Mr. Serry in his own remarks to the Security Council and the press, were vague on how to ensure Israel’s security if border crossings were to be opened to more goods beyond the strictly humanitarian supplies that have entered Gaza without interruption.
The closest Ambassador Grant came to addressing any consideration by the Security Council of the possibility of demilitarization of Gaza to accompany reconstruction was to say that “[T]here wasn’t any discussion in detail about demilitarisation options, but a number of Members, including particularly the European Members, raised the point that there would probably need to be some form of international component to that, and indeed the EU could play a role in doing that.”
Mr. Serry emphasized that the “main priority” in his view was the reconstruction of Gaza. Without providing any details, Mr. Serry asserted that the system under which the UN has been importing construction materials for UN projects, undertaken in coordination with the Israeli government, has “demonstrably worked” in preventing the diversion of materials to military use. “We stand ready to explore with the relevant stakeholders how the UN’s proven mechanism can be expanded to monitoring a PA-led, private-sector-driven reconstruction programme in Gaza,” he said.
The problem with Mr. Serry’s assertion of a successful UN monitoring program is that it was undermined by several recent events. First, there was the discovery of Hamas rockets stored in at least three UN schools. Second, there was the diversion of concrete that Israel itself had sent into Gaza for peaceful construction purposes to the building of Hamas’s terror tunnels, which Israeli forces discovered when they entered those tunnels. Third, an internal audit report of the UN’s Development Programme regarding construction work in Gaza found, according to Fox News, lack of careful procurement monitoring. Fox reported the audit’s conclusion that “a U.N. Development Program office that funds and monitors spending on construction in the territory allowed at least five non-staff contract employees to handle ‘core’ procurement processes that only staffers are supposed to handle, including those for ordering up ‘significant’ civil construction activities.”
Moreover, the United Nations cannot be trusted when it comes to having even the slightest genuine concern about Israel’s security from jihadist attacks against Israel’s civilian population. Israel has over-reacted in using “disproportionate” force in responding to Hamas’s provocations, the UN’s highest officials have declared over and over again.
As Israel’s UN Ambassador Ron Prosor told reporters, the “only thing ‘disproportionate’ is the accusations being made against Israel.”
One need look no further for proof of such disproportionality than the “kangaroo court” that the UN Human Rights Council selected to conduct an “investigation” into possible violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Gaza. William Schabas, the Canadian professor of international law who was chosen to head the panel, reached his verdict regarding Israel’s culpability years ago.
In 2011, he claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be “in the dock of an international court.” And in a 2011 interview, Schabas criticized the International Criminal Court’s focus on prosecuting Sudan’s President al-Bashir for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur while not going after Israel’s former president. “Why are we going after the president of Sudan for Darfur and not the president of Israel for Gaza? Because of politics,” Schabas said.
In 2013, Schabas demonstrated his willingness to manipulate the law in order to get Israel. He said that “by twisting things and maneuvering” it would be possible to prosecute Israel for “crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression, all of which I think can be shown have been perpetrated at various times during the history of the state of Israel.”
Schabas’s sidekick on the UN Human Rights Council’s “kangaroo court” is just as biased, if not even worse. He is Doudou Diene, who has served in the past as the UN’s Special Rapporteur on racism. In that capacity, Diene took a UN-paid junket across the United States in the spring of 2008 to “investigate,” among other things, Islamophobia in America. He met with such “reliable” sources of information as leaders of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and a former top fundraiser for the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which has been found guilty of illegally funneling more than $12 million to Hamas. Diene “balanced” his tour, so to speak, by meeting with far left human rights advocates in New York City, including the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights. Not surprisingly, in his report to the UN Human Rights Council, Diene concluded that “[R]acism and racial discrimination have profoundly and lastingly marked and structured American society.”
In 2009, at a rally in Geneva that included demonstrators with signs stating “Zionism equals racism” and “Israel is an Apartheid State,” Diene fed the crowd the red meat that it craved, accusing Israel of perpetuating colonialism and racism in Palestine.
The UN might as well issue its anti-Israel report on Gaza right now and save the time and money that will be wasted by Schabas, Diene and whomever else the Human Rights Council appoints to its “kangaroo court.” Moreover, the United Nations cannot be trusted to take responsibility for ensuring the proper civilian use of construction materials brought into Gaza in the future. Far more robust on-site multinational supervision will be required to ensure Israel’s security, including the prompt removal of rockets and mortars from the hands of Hamas and other jihadists as well as the destruction of all remaining tunnels.
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