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UN needs more than 'concern' over murder of Palestinians

March 29, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Israel’s most recent murderous rampage elicited a spectrum fluctuating between statements and silence from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and James Rawley, UN deputy special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. Riddled with the usual rhetoric in which murder is mellowed into “incidents”, “cases”, or transformed into an unacknowledged event. The rhetoric spouted by Netanyahu is echoed in Rawley’s statement, which exhibits the various flaws embraced by the UN to bolster Israel’s impunity.

Within 24 hours, Israeli forces in the West Bank murdered university student Saji Darwish and Judge Raed Zeiter. In Gaza, the Israeli Defence Forces committed another atrocity resulting in the killing of three Palestinian resistance fighters.

Darwish was allegedly indulging in stone throwing when soldiers opened fire, making the student a victim of collateral damage according to Israeli rhetoric. Israeli human rights group B’Tselem noted that no further context to the murder was given, other than “an ambush to catch stone throwers”. The organisation stressed the necessity of opening a criminal investigation “of the incident” and advocated against ambushes upon Palestinians.

According to the Times of Israel, a preliminary army investigation established that Zeiter “tried to snatch a weapon and strangle a solider”; despite eyewitnesses claiming the judge was murdered during the course of an argument in which there was no evidence of threat to the soldier’s life. The military allegedly carried out a “comprehensive investigation” and also reported upon the convenient coincidence of a malfunctioning camera on site which failed to record the sequence of events.

Meanwhile, Ma’an News Agency reported that an Israeli airstrike in Gaza killed Ismail Abu Judah, Shahir Abu Shanab and Abd al-Shafi Muammar. The resistance fighters affiliated with Islamic Jihad were resisting Israeli military infiltration in South East Khan Younis, prompting fatal retaliation from the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).

As Islamic Jihad responded to the resistance fighters’ murder by rocket attacks, Netanyahu attempted to impose Israel’s belligerent presence by threatening, “It seems that the rocket fire came in response to our counter-terrorism operations yesterday. We will continue to thwart and harm those who wish to harm us and we will act against them with great intensity.”

While the murders committed by Israel in the West Bank prompted patronising statements from Netanyahu and the UN, the fatalities in Gaza remained largely unacknowledged unless reflecting the means to promulgate further violence. The trend reflects political allegiances of incitement while exhibiting a callous disregard for the victims of Israel’s state-terror.

It has been long since established that Israel and its imperialist counterpart deem Palestinian lives as less worthy of protection. However, while the murder of Palestinians in the West Bank is occasionally deemed newsworthy, any mention of murder with regard to Palestinians in Gaza necessitates depiction of dead children or wreckage to ensure a few moments of international visibility and feigned compassion. Obliterating Palestinian resistance in Gaza remains a crucial endeavour requiring complicity on local, regional and international levels to ensure discourse is diverted towards the West Bank and its compromised role in the ongoing negotiations.

A statement issued by Netanyahu’s office expresses the usual mandatory “regret”. “Israel regrets the death of Judge Raed Zeiter yesterday at the King Hussein (Allenby) bridge.” Darwish’s murder at the hands of the IDF was conveniently eliminated from the official narration; presumably the lack of an influential title to his name warrants no mention. Conversely, the statement echoes the necessity to articulate a form of feigned concern at Zeiter’s murder due to his greater prominence in society.

Rawley echoed Netanyahu’s regret in his expression of “deep concern” with regards to “the incidents”, before embarking upon the habitual unheeded calls for investigations. “We urge that thorough investigations be conducted into all such cases, welcoming steps taken to this effect, and that accountability for any violations of international law be ensured. We call on all concerned to demonstrate restraint and work towards de-escalating tensions.”

The discourse emphasises four main concepts: time, compromise, impunity and oblivion. As it prides itself on the issuing of statements that apparently condemn atrocities, the UN continues to flaunt its allegiances with Israel, consolidating its presence within the imperialist mainstream narrative. Even during the alleged year of solidarity with the Palestinian people, all the organisation can manage is a reiteration invoking international law upon Israel while wallowing in its own complicity which aided the creation of the settler-colonial state and sanctioned decades of murder.

Given the swiftness of the compromised response, it is clear that the timeframe was the factor motivating the statement, rather than the murders. The timeframe as a prime factor also aids the UN in disassociating violence from the settler-colonial state it helped to create. This produces victims daily, despite the silence suffocating their testimonies. However, since UN statements are integral to promoting bloodshed as sensational and newsworthy, the organisation has succeeded in creating a temporary shrine for the victims from the West Bank, while obliterating the deaths of militants in Gaza resisting military Zionist forces.

The obliteration leads to the UN’s compromise with Israel and the legislation it manipulates in order to promote a false semblance of adherence to legality. Its unimpressive plea to Israel and the importance of applying international law is invalidated from within the dynamics of the imperialist organisation. The UN repeatedly upholds Israel’s alleged right to defend itself while neglecting the legality of Palestinian resistance under international law. If the UN is to embark upon a serious discussion of defence, Israel’s “right” to defend itself should be dismantled together with its colonisation of Palestine. The organisation’s obvious failure to insist upon the decolonisation of Palestine in order to uphold Israel’s impunity should then be interpreted as the Palestinian legitimate right to defence and resistance.

The compromise with Israel is clear – the UN will persist, through its regurgitated statements and fabricated platform of solidarity with Palestinians, in its fragmentation of Palestinian memory and identity. A process which will take place at the expense of further Palestinian lives, many of whom will remain unacknowledged within the international community. It is perhaps time for the manipulative organisation to marvel at the lack of significance it attributes to Palestinians’ perpetual anguish and tears, in order to revel in its anticipation of further colonial violence.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.