The United Nations has again expressed ‘concern’ about Israel preventing humanitarian aid from reaching Palestinian communities in the West Bank. According to a UN report, an international humanitarian organisation was prohibited from reaching the community of Makhul, thus causing further hardships for Palestinians whose homes were demolished last week by Israeli authorities. It is reported that 48 Palestinians, including children, are in urgent need of shelter.
Discrepancies highlight the UN’s rhetoric of concern. Deputy Special Coordinator James W Rawley insisted that ‘The United Nations and its partners remain committed to providing humanitarian assistance to populations in immediate need’. Following an acknowledgement and renewed obligation to combat Israel’s international law violations, reduced to a ‘humanitarian impact’, Rawley adds that the Israeli authorities should ‘live up to their obligations as occupying power to protect the communities under their responsibility, including to halt demolitions of Palestinian homes and property … The displacement of a whole Palestinian community in the occupied Palestinian territory is a very disappointing development’.
Such statements may highlight the fact that the UN diplomatically speaks of concern as opposed to outrage, despite knowledge of a maintained escalation of atrocities against Palestinians, which the UN routinely ignores in accordance with Israel’s security concern rhetoric. Outrage is reserved for countries which fail to adhere to imperial propaganda. In order to ensure that ‘concern’ resonates as a viable preference, steps are taken to ensure at least a partial alienation of spectators within the international community. By highlighting human rights violations as isolated incidents instead of a premeditated sequence entrenched within the illegal occupation, the UN effectively obliterates decades of oppression.
The UN’s reluctance to address violations as a constant occurrence also compromises the organisation’s alleged commitment to address the necessity of humanitarian aid. The rhetoric of ‘populations in need’ strengthens the cycle of oppression by focusing on repercussions, thus ensuring Palestinian dependence and validating the correlation between humanitarian aid and human rights abuses; in turn allowing Israel and the international community to evade accountability with regard to the establishment of the occupation and its relentless subjugation of Palestinians.
Considering the impunity granted to Israel in this regard, the UN’s statements amount to nothing but a perfunctory gesture which strives to impart the reasons why humanitarian aid has failed to reach homeless Palestinians while affirming its support for the illegal state. The statement does not call for a reversal of the occupation – it calls upon Israel to acknowledge its obligations as an occupying power, while describing forced displacement as a ‘disappointment’, ostensibly in light of the alleged peace talks. Such statements may appease the UN’s mightiest member states which determine international policies and practices at times in violation of international law. Palestinians, on the other had are embroiled within a situation of conflict created by the preservation of dignity and the necessity of survival. Deprivation of humanitarian aid; as well as humanitarian aid, highlight the international community’s disassociation from an obscenity which has prevailed for decades, sanctioned by the alleged custodians of human rights.
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