Sat 13-April-2024

The UN is complicit in the forced displacement of the Palestinians

Friday 16-February-2024

Never, ever, trust the UN’s concept of human rights. As Israel continues its genocide in Rafah, supposedly a safe zone designated by Israel itself while it hounds out Hamas in other areas of Gaza, the UN held its daily press briefing and made use of its usual jargon, carefully evading any statement that could be interpreted as a reaction against Israel’s war crimes.

One would expect that after Israel has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians and rounded up almost the entire population in Rafah for convenient annihilation, the UN would at least avail itself of stronger words. However, as the UN Secretary General’s Spokesman Stephane Dujarric stated, humanitarian colleagues from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) “have heightened concerns of an escalation in Gaza’s southernmost city, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have sought refuge.”

Heightened concerns? It gets worse.

“We saw again Palestinians being killed yesterday. What we need is a humanitarian ceasefire,” Dujarric said in response to another question regarding the situation in Rafah. “The Secretary-General feels it’s extremely important to have this humanitarian ceasefire. We also saw yesterday the release of two Israeli hostages, which we very much welcome the fact that these two have regained their freedom. And it’s important to see the immediate and unconditional release of all remaining hostages.”

Palestinians are being slaughtered by Israel, and the UN annihilates their presence even from statements that should deal with the genocide they are living and dying through. The Israeli hostage situation is being used as a diversion, not least from the fact that Hamas proposed a plan which Israel rejected outright. The UN is sending a clear message: any humanitarian ceasefire would be tied strictly to the release of Israeli hostages and only if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agrees to it. So far, Netanyahu has clearly demonstrated that the remaining Israeli hostages are already collateral damage in the genocide inflicted upon Palestinians in Gaza.

Another question was related to Israel requesting the UN’s help in forcibly displacing Palestinians., “We want to ensure that anything that happens is done in full respect of international law, in full respect of civilians,” said Dujarric. “We will not be party to forced displacement of people.” Wrong on both counts. Maybe the UN needs to hear that it is encouraging Israel’s international law violations including genocide, and it is, and has always been, party to the forced displacement of the Palestinian people since entertaining the Zionist colonial ideology and coming up with the 1947 Partition Plan.

Dujarric’s words not only ring hollow in terms of the UN’s purported concern for Palestine, of which it has none, but he also seeks to conceal the UN’s historical role in forced displacement of Palestinians. The UN’s role in creating Israel – a colonial entity on stolen Palestinian land – is equivalent to complicity in forced displacement, ethnic cleansing and now also genocide. And yet, the Palestinians have been forced perpetually by the UN itself to remain subservient to international demands and conjectures. From Israel’s establishment and subsequent international recognition, to the defunct two-state compromise, the result Palestinians have been forced to reap is their own annihilation with the full blessings of the UN. Any official or entity asking Palestinians to abide by international law has always been a hypocrite. At this stage, anyone advocating for less than a permanent ceasefire, full recognition of the Palestinians’ right to anti-colonial resistance and their full political rights to their land and liberation, would do better to remain silent. The colonized have the right to defend themselves against the colonizer. The UN should get that.

-Ramona Wadi is an independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger. Her writing covers a range of themes in relation to Palestine, Chile and Latin America. Her article appeared in MEMO.

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