Following yet another round of accusations, condemnations and reproach authored by Israel and the UN over Operation Protective Edge, the international body’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Makarim Wibisono, was refused entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territories last week. This move by Israel was in retaliation for the alleged bias harboured against it by the UN Human Rights Council.
Quoted in the Times of Israel, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon justified Israel’s decision as the means by which it can combat anti-Israel sentiment. “Israel cooperates with all the international commissions and all [UN] rapporteurs, except when the mandate handed to them is anti-Israeli and Israel has no chance to make itself heard,” he claimed.
This latest predictable act of defiance comes in the aftermath of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s decision to omit Israel from the list of states and entities violating children’s rights, as well as the report released by Israel regarding Operation Protective Edge. Unsurprisingly, the settler-colonial state has absolved itself of all accountability for the horrors perpetrated against Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Israel’s report was a premeditated effort aimed at diluting the effects of the forthcoming report on Gaza compiled by the UNHRC.
Even before its release, Israeli leaders have already embarked upon criticism of the UNHRC report. “The time has come to go on the offensive,” insisted Education Minister Naftali Bennett. The Israeli army, he added, “sacrificed the basic principles of combat to avoid harming civilians.” One can only assume that the basic principles of combat were “sacrificed” in order to pave the way for indiscriminate massacre, given the dismembered bodies which became a regular feature of Israel’s aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza last summer.
The chairman of the Yesh Atid Party described the report as “evidence that the UN has lost its mind.” Yair Lapid also claimed that Israel is perpetually singled out for criticism and investigation.
Rather than insanity, the UN should be scrutinised for its obsession with protecting Israel and the state’s constant violations of international law. Addressing the UN yesterday, Secretary-General Ban urged Israel “to take concrete and immediate steps, including by reviewing existing policies and practices, to protect and prevent the killing and maiming of children.” He still didn’t place Israel on that list of states and entities violating children’s rights, though.
Far from obsessive investigation, as alleged by Lapid, the UN has developed a unique strategy when dealing with Israel. The strategy, which has resonated internationally, consists of mild, condemnations, while upholding Israel’s violent agenda by defending its existence. Recent history has fortified the role reversal between the UN and Israel, resulting in Israel’s dominance, at an international level, in determining the rhetoric and action of the UN. This is an achievement that necessitates international complicity in further obscuring the UN’s role and purpose.
While Tel Aviv’s most prominent characteristic is its penchant for vengeance, the dynamic between the UN and Israel reeks of a willing subjugation on behalf of the organisation that benefits both parties. Taking action against UN officials attempting to visit Palestine has become another predictable exercise by Israel that allows the international body to portray itself as bound to its duties and responsibilities, while abstaining from portraying Israel as a murderous, colonial entity. If the UNHRC report is to retain any validity, it must go beyond the trap of raising awareness and compromising its findings through the usual condemnations uttered by the UN and its affiliated bodies.
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