After almost a month of blatant violation of human rights in the Gaza Strip – which has left nearly 2,000 people dead – the United Nations seems to have finally woken up. The international organization thought on Monday of summoning an international commission of inquiry into possible war crimes committed by both sides during Israel's military onslaught “Operation Protective Edge.”
Predictably, Israel responded to the announcement with outrage, dismissing the inquiry as a U.N. Human Rights Council "kangaroo court."
However, the reaction seems unnecessarily emotional since another report suggests that Israel doesn’t really need to worry about the U.N. or any of its human rights investigation panels.
In a startling revelation, it has emerged that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon – the “head” of the organization’s Secretariat – asked the "members of the Security Council (UNSC) not to take into account the report submitted by the U.N. Board of Inquiry that accused Israel of targeting U.N. buildings in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009."
Citing official documents released by WikiLeaks – the leaked State Department cables website – on Friday, several media outlets reported that Ban Ki-moon secretly worked with Israel to "undermine U.N. report into Gaza war crimes."
"Ban wrote a letter to the U.N. Security Council asking its members not to take recommendations by the U.N. Board of Inquiry about Israeli bombings in Gaza into account," the report alleged.
If the claims made in the controversial paper against the U.N. chief turn out to be true – and even if they don’t – the uncertainty surrounding the Gaza Strip and the hopes of putting an end to the atrocities over there will further diminish.
All the protests and struggle for civilian Palestinians fighting for their survival would die in vain.
However, the U.N. standing helpless in front of Israel is not an uncommon scenario and should not come as a “shocking” revelation.
Let’s consider the expansion in the occupied West Bank– the Israeli settlements which long have been deemed illegal by the United Nations.
Palestinians have previously warned – on several occasions – that further construction of these settlements could derail the peace talks that the U.N. as well as the United States has struggled to keep on track for the past year.
Despite these warnings, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been carrying on with the expansion.
The U.N. said on Monday an independent team of security experts will investigate "all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law ... in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014."
But if the Wikileaks claims turn out to be true, one wonders if this panel would serve any purpose at all.