Friday, June 19, 2015

Ban Ki-Moon: children, Gaza and hypocrisy for Israel

In the days leading up to a formal United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Report on the 2014 Gaza-Israel war, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon took time from his duties to speak about children who suffer. He said he was "deeply alarmed at the suffering of so many children [emphasis mine] as a result of Israeli military operations in Gaza last year" (“Ban Bashes Israel for Making Gazan Children Suffer”, Arutz Sheva, June 18, 2015).

But what, exactly, is Moon referring to? Is he referring to the app 510-540 children who were killed in Israeli air strikes during the 2014 Gaza-Israel war? Or is he referring to some hundreds of thousands of Gazan children who are reported to be suffering after-effects of that war?

If he’s talking about the children who were killed and injured last summer, he words blame Israel for those casualties. Why? What about Hamas’s role in those casualties?

As he fingered ‘Israeli military operations last summer’, he failed to mention that Hamas’s policy in Gaza last year was that civilians (including children) were not to evacuate when Israelis warned them to do so (Mudar Zahran, “Gazans speak out: Hamas war crimes”, gatestoneinstitute, September 19, 2014). He failed to mention that reports have come out of Gaza that many civilians (including children) had been killed in their homes because Hamas militants had locked them in after Israeli warnings, and just before an Israeli attack began (ibid). He failed to report that Hamas thugs had killed civilians (potentially including children) trying to reach safety (ibid).

If Ban Ki-Moon is ‘alarmed’ at these children’s suffering, why does he not also speak of Hamas? Where is his ‘alarm’ that Hamas could have been the cause of that suffering?

He spoke only about Israel. He singled out Israel. He did that even as the UN is very much aware that Israel has already officially stated that Hamas had “knowingly endangered civilian life” in Gaza (“Violations of the Law of Armed Conflict, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity Committed by Hamas and Other Terrorist Organisations during the 2014 Gaza Conflict”, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs,, July 26, 2014). He did that even as the UN understands from the aftermath of the Goldstone Report that Israeli statements about Hamas war crimes have turned out repeatedly to be true—as Hamas claims turn out to be false (Richard Goldstone, “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes”, Washington Post, April 1, 2011). He did that even as claims have emerged that Hamas played a significant role in Gazan civilian suffering (William Booth, “The U.N. says 7 in 10 Palestinians killed in Gaza were civilians. Israel disagrees”, Washington Post, August 29, 2014).

There is sufficient evidence to suggest that Hamas was at least equally responsible for that suffering. Why did Moon suggest that only Israel is responsible for it?

If Moon is referring to the ongoing suffering of Gazan children, why does he suggest that it’s Israeli military operations last summer that are responsible for that? Reports suggest that, eight months after the fighting ended, some 400,000 children still suffer (“After the bombs, 400,000 children in Gaza still suffer from shellshock”, The Times, April 9, 2015). But, as this news report goes on to suggest, it’s not Israel alone which is responsible for that suffering. These children continue to suffer because billions of dollars of pledges to Gaza haven’t materialized (ibid).

Could that be why Gazan children still suffer? Ban Ki-Moon doesn’t think so. He blames Israel’s.  

Eight months after the war, Gazans still sit in the heat, ‘disillusioned with ‘Palestinian’ leadership and disempowered by the aid community’ (Alice Su, “Gaza is Hell”, The Atlantic, May 2, 2015).

Gazans are angry at Israel for their plight. But they’re equally angry at their own leadership (ibid).

Donors pledged $3.5 billion USD. But they’ve delivered just 27 per cent of it (ibid). They have stopped the cash flow because of other (non-Israeli) regional conflict—and because Hamas and Fatah refuse to reconcile (ibid).

Israel is not at fault for any of this. If Gazan children continue to suffer, it isn’t because of Israel. It’s because of Arab behaviour and their friends’ reneging on promises.

There’s also the problem of failures within the international aid community (ibid). Israel has nothing to do with that, either.

Moon didn’t mention any of this. He simply said he’s alarm over the ‘suffering’ of the children in Gaza at the hands of Israel last year. What about the suffering caused by Hamas, the PA, the aid community or the failure of pledged money showing up?

Apparently, for the head of the UN, that’s all irrelevant.

When he spoke, Moon said, “2014 was one of the worst years in recent memory for children in countries affected by conflict” (“Ban bashes Israel”, above). But the only children he was ‘alarmed’ over were the Gazan children.

That’s a problem. It reveals his anti-Israel bias.

He might feel true alarm over the Gazan children. But where is his ‘alarm’ over the suffering of thousands upon thousands of other children who have been murdered, buried alive or used for rape, sex slavery or underage combat by ISIS (Samuel Smith, “UN Report on ISIS: 24,000 Killed, Injured by Islamic State; Children Used as Soldiers, Women Sold as Sex Slaves”, christianpost, October 9, 2014). Where is his ‘alarm’ over pictures of children beheaded by ISIS  (“WARNING GRAPHIC PHOTOS (RAW) - ISIS begins killing Christians in Mosul, CHILDREN BEHEADED”, CatholicOnline, August 8, 2014).

World-wide, there are more than 25 million boys and girls who have been displaced and abused by conflict (The Guardian, above). This number is the largest number for child displacement in any of the 70 years since the end of the second world war (ibid). “The sight of children exiled from their homes, often for years on end, is now so common and their suffering so profound that the world seems frozen into inaction by the sheer enormity of their plight” (ibid).

There are twenty-five million suffering children about whom the world can do nothing. “Vulnerable children, whose right to be shielded from war is supposedly guaranteed in successive UN charters and resolutions, are being systematically violated, exploited, injured, raped and killed, in a succession of theatres of war” (ibid)—yet the only children Ban Ki-Moon cares enough about to be ‘alarmed’ over are the children of Gaza. The only army he’s worried about is Israel’s.

He’s ‘alarmed’ over Gazan children. But he no sense of alarm over the 24,600,000 other children whose suffering may be far more traumatic.

 Ban Ki-Moon represents the UN. He’s supposed to speak for peace and world security. But he chooses to use his ‘bully pulpit’ to ignore 24,600,000 children just so he can speak against Israel.

He expresses his alarm over 1.6 per cent of world-wide child suffering. He expresses no ‘alarm’ over the other 98.4 per cent.

He’s a hypocrite. He’s not interested in suffering children. He’s interested in demonizing Israel. His words prove it.

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