Courtesy : UN
  • Does the sympathy towards weak perpetrator condone it’s action?
  • Is UN led pro-Gaza campaign jaundiced in its view?

By Sangeeta Saxena

New Delhi. 07 April 2024. Six months ago   on October 7, 2023, armed Palestinian groups in Gaza fired thousands of rockets in Israel’s direction. They also broke through the border fence several times, entering Israeli towns and murdering and kidnapping both Israeli soldiers and civilians. Following the declaration of “a state of war alert,” the Israeli military retaliated. And the war still continues.

In a statement issued by world’s policeman United Nations on Saturday marking six months of conflict, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths stated that each day the war claims more civilian victims, after the horror of 7 October and the death and devastation rained down on the people of Gaza since. “Rarely has there been such global outrage at the toll of the conflict with seemingly so little done to end it and instead so much impunity”, he said. He said the grim milestone should not be just a moment of remembrance and mourning, “it must also spur a collective determination that there be a reckoning for this betrayal of humanity.” Big Brother UN has forgotten that it were these so called armed groups of Gaza who started the conflict taking Israel by surprise. And did they think that they could get away with it and Israel would just let it go.

Lets take a look into some statistics provided by UN.

  • The ILO estimates that ,”more than 200,000 jobs have been lost in Gaza, some 90 per cent of the pre-conflict workforce. The UN agency further calculates that income losses there have reached $4.1 million per day, which equates to an 80 per cent decrease in the enclave’s GDP (the amount of money earned from the sale of all goods and services). This includes Palestinians who received salaries for work carried out in Israel but who are now unemployed in Gaza.”
  • FAO says, “many in the north do face a serious situation of malnutrition, starvation with some of the population classified as being hit with famine. Before the conflict, Gaza had a thriving agricultural and fisheries sector both for export and local consumption. Indeed Gaza had “partial self-sufficiency of production of fruits and vegetables. The sector has largely collapsed due to the relentless bombing across the enclave. Almost 50 per cent of agricultural land has been destroyed.”
  • UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), “it will take decades and the will of the international community to fund tens of billions of dollars of investments to reconstruct Gaza.”
  • The World Bank calculates the figure at $18.5 billion, but that only accounts for damage up until the end of January 2024. Housing will be most costly to rebuild (taking up 72 per cent of the overall costs) followed by public service infrastructure such as water, health and education (19 per cent).
  • That figure obviously does not include the costs of keeping people alive with humanitarian assistance over the next several years. And deadly unexploded bombs will also have to be cleared across the enclave which, according to the UN’s Mine Action Service, “will take years”.
  • UN’s Mine Action Service says, “And deadly unexploded bombs will also have to be cleared across the enclave which, according to the UN’s Mine Action Service, will take years”.

All these should be cues for the international body to tell  the Palestinians that it has happened because of their instigation on 7th October 2023. In geopolitically volatile regions, not-so-friendly neighbourhoods the smaller and weaker gets benefit of doubt and the stronger brickbats with sanctions. Same stands true in Israel-Palestine issue. World bodies have to create a balance for both the sides without seeing the situation with dark glasses and jaundiced eyes.

The UN Secretary General António Guterres told journalists at UN Headquarters in New York that nothing could justify the horror unleashed by Palestinian militants that day.  “I once again utterly condemn the use of sexual violence, torture injuring and kidnapping of civilians, the firing of rockets towards civilian targets and the use of human shields”, he said, calling again for the unconditional release of all hostages still being held in the Gaza Strip. Is this pacification to the stronger warring and support to the weaker one? It might appear to many that UN is trying to balance but it had to ensure that it has as much control over Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups  that they keep away from such unjustified actions and justify all form of help , funding, grants and global support it garners for this small but volatile piece of land and people living in it. UN’s eyes cannot be jaundiced to the fact that Arab – Israel issue has two incumbents and not one.

In a development on 5th April 2024, the Israeli ambassador left the plenary session in protest after her speech because the UN Human Rights Council had adopted a resolution that was critical of Israel. At the conclusion of its 55th session, the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted a resolution denouncing Israel . The UN condemned Israel for the war in Gaza in the resolution that was adopted  but it says nothing about Hamas or its crimes on October 7. The resolution compares the kidnappees to detainees who may have engaged in terrorist activities. Furthermore, it violates Israel’s right to self-defense. In addition, the resolution calls for an arms embargo on Israel, legitimises Palestinian “resistance” against the “occupation,” and flagrantly ignores Iran and its allies’ arms sales to Hamas. Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN and International Organisations in Geneva, Ambassador Meirav Eilon Shahar, left the hall in protest after the resolution was adopted and rightly so.

The resolution against Israel was rejected by Germany, Argentina, Paraguay, Bulgaria, and Malawi, in addition to the United States. The US is anticipated to vote against each of the three additional anti-Israeli resolutions that the council is expected to adopt later today. “Condemning the State of Israel and defending the terrorist organisation Hamas as well as anyone else who seeks to harm and destroy us is all that matters to this Council and many of its members,” stated Amb. Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and International Organisations in Geneva.

The unending Israel-Palestine issue as per UN has only one solution of peace. A lasting end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only come through a two-State solution, the United Nations chief told the Security Council , following the reported rejection of such a formula by Israel’s leaders amid the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. “Any refusal to accept the two-State solution by any party must be firmly rejected,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in his briefing to the 15-nation organ, stressing that Israeli leaders’ recent, clear and repeated rejection of a two-State solution is unacceptable. The denial of the right to Statehood would indefinitely prolong the conflict, and a one-State solution — huge Palestinian populations inside that State without any real sense of freedom, rights and dignity — would be inconceivable.  The only way to address the legitimate aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians is through the two-State formula, he underscored.

A political solution to the long standing hiatus has to take a backseat in the current situation. UN should be able to get a No-First-Strike from Palestine. History has proved that they start the hostilities, then cry running to the world when Israel which is a bigger military power retaliates. Do they think Israel will take it lying down or do they feel the world will support them against Israel and close their eyes to the perpetration of the instigation? The solution in this context seems a far off possibility.