The UN promotes its penchant for convenience at the expense of Palestinians and hardly anyone expresses concern. Perhaps because “concern” is the UN’s monopoly over the political squalour that produces an entire spectrum of human rights violations against Palestinians.
In an interview with The Times of Israel, UN Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Jamie McGoldrick pointed out, and rightly so, the discrepancies between professed and practical support for Palestinians. However, the same rhetoric can also be applied to the UN and with a high degree of scrutiny. Concern – already a duplicitous term in UN rhetoric – is sidelined to pave the way for convenience.
According to McGoldrick, the UN wants the Palestinian Authority to assert its control over Gaza because “it makes our job easier, and hopefully creates an atmosphere [in which] people can see hope”. Once again, it is pertinent to ask – where are Palestinians in this equation? Is the UN cloistering them into a group of people whose rights depend on “hope”? Given that the PA has not relented from its punitive measures imposed upon the enclave, thus contributing to the deterioration of their political and humanitarian rights, envisaging the PA’s rule in Gaza is first and foremost an international endorsement of human rights violations.
The UN works to promote the stability of its hierarchy by exploiting human rights as a concept and in practice. It is no secret that Gaza’s humanitarian crisis can be alleviated by lifting Israel’s illegal blockade, holding the PA responsible for experimenting upon the population to enforce its authoritarian rule and, ultimately decolonise the entire territory. Financial assistance, whether given or withheld, is part of the perpetuated cycle of violations. McGoldrick’s alternative is “hope” – so superfluous in such dire conditions there can hardly be a more patronising attitude exhibited by the UN.
Referring to Palestinians, the UN envoy stated, “And if they had some hope, which is in very short supply in Gaza, and people felt there was a possibility for them to have a better life – people would be occupied with other things [than attacking Israel].” The context is the Great Return March protests, which is still divested of all its obvious meaning – the Palestinian right of return to their entire homeland. Furthermore, McGoldrick describes Palesitnian families in Gaza as “not motivated by political goals”.
This is inaccurate – the international community, in collaboration with Israel and the PA, have politicised human rights for their own gain, bolstering the discrepancy between aid and abuse to maintain the supremacy of a political role. Such rhetoric as imparted by McGoldrick only promotes the misconception that politics is an institutional concern and a point of reference for the begging of rights. If human rights are politicised, since their universal value has undoubtedly been mangled beyond recognition, then Palestinians who “just want a life,” according to McGoldrick, must define their rights as political, with or without the approval or consent of the international community.
Whenever the UN speaks of “concern,” let it be known it is aspiring for political convenience.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.