Tuesday, February 19, 2008

UN has no idea who is responsible for Qassams

The UN seemed to have a "flying pig" moment last Saturday when a top humanitarian representative condemned rocket attacks against Israel:
The United Nations humanitarian chief today voiced his concern at the impact of indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel during a visit to the town of Sderot, an area severely affected by bombardments from the Gaza Strip.

“The people of Sderot and the surrounding area have had to live with these unacceptable and indiscriminate rocket attacks for seven years now. There is no doubt about the physical and psychological suffering these attacks are causing,” said John Holmes, who is on a five-day trip to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, his first as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.

“I condemn them utterly and call on those responsible to stop them now without conditions,” added Mr. Holmes, who is also UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.

While in Sderot, Mr. Holmes met with the city officials, including the Mayor, who briefed him on the difficulties faced by local civilians as a result of almost daily rocket attacks. Over the past seven years, a number of houses in the area have been damaged, the local economy has suffered, and some 12 per cent of the city's 22,000 residents have left.

“There are no military targets in this city. These victims here are innocent civilians. There is no time to lose in putting an end to this vicious circle of violence. More violence will not bring peace to the people of Sderot,” Mr. Holmes said.

A couple of things are interesting about this UN press release.

Firstly, it didn't bother to mention that many residents of the Negev have been injured or killed by Qassams - only that there has been property and economic damage. Even as Holmes condemns the rockets, he is minimizing their actual effect.

Secondly, notice what is missing from this - and essentially all - UN statements on Gaza?

There is no mention of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, the Al Aqsa Brigades, or any of the other groups who actually fire them. The UN just mouths words condemning the attacks themselves without saying a single critical word about any specific group.

The UN has no problem condemning Israel explicitly, but when it comes to criticizing any Palestinian Arab group by name, the UN becomes mute. It is as if the United Nations is either too stupid to know who is responsible or too scared to say their names in fear of retribution.

The mere mention of Hamas would guarantee that UN statements get taken seriously by Hamas and the other terror groups as they would be forced to respond and show their own hypocrisy to the world. As it is, the UN seems to be only placating its critics with a worthless "condemnation" while staying away from any real criticism of the groups who take explicit responsibility - and pride - in shooting these rockets at civilians.