Pathetic handwaving double down from the UN
Eric Worrall writes: A number of MSM outlets are carrying news of a “leaked” UN document, which claims that global warming may be causing irreversible damage.
According to the Bloomberg version of the leak story;
“Global warming already is affecting “all continents and across the oceans,” and further pollution from heat-trapping gases will raise the likelihood of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems,”
The problem with this vapid handwaving nonsense is that it is so vague. I mean, in the good old days, alarmists made interesting predictions;
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
Al Gore’s ice free arctic (in 5 years!)
Rain will never fill Australian reservoirs again
The great thing about bold predictions is they are easily falsified – all you have to do is wait a few years, then point and laugh.
The survivors of that golden age of bold stupidity are far too timid – they issue vague predictions of calamity which won’t occur until long after we are all safely dead, and promises that if we wait a few decades we might see something worrying.
I mean, seriously folks, is this the best you can do? Can even the most rabid alarmists get enthused by such a pathetic effort?
Two Special Advisors to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Adama Dieng and Jennifer Welsh, have added their voices to the insignificant, lamentable chorus of concern. Speaking in relation to the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect respectively, Dieng and Welsh meticulously stressed the necessity of upholding distinctions as stipulated in international law, while retaining a self-imposed right to distortion of facts in order to uphold Israel’s fabricated narrative.
In their statement, Dieng and Welsh relied on the usual conjectures that cast doubt over the atrocities committed by Israel, while issuing an unequivocal condemnation against Palestinian resistance. The paraphrased comments, published as a UN press release, insist that “the high number of civilian casualties, particularly among the Palestinians, could [my emphasis] demonstrate disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli Defence Forces. At the same time, the launching of rocket attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups into Israeli residential areas constitutes indiscriminate use of force.” This would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.
Furthermore, Dieng and Walsh also diminished the horrendous incitement to violence against Palestinians, including the calls for extermination of the indigenous population through use of language that emphasised the indefinite in favour of Israel. Despite the escalating rhetoric advocating for the murder of Palestinian mothers and elimination of Palestinians in Gaza as a political strategy, the Special Advisors stated that such incitement “could be dehumanising”, instead of insisting that it is an undisputed fact.
It is, perhaps, convenient, that the UN and affiliated organisations’ primary competency is the issuing of reminders. These can be issued to “all parties” while evoking illusions of “impartial investigations” to arrive at the conclusion that protecting the Palestinian population in Gaza is as simple as “an end of hostilities, the creation of a humanitarian corridor and lifting of the blockade of Gaza which has created further suffering.” All of which can be achieved, according to Dieng and Welsh, by “serious negotiations that will end the cycle of violence and achieve a stable, just and durable solution to this longstanding conflict.”
The discourse of “conflict” adds to ambiguities which are necessary to protect the UN’s deceitful existence and propaganda which refuses to demand the dismantling of Israel’s settler-colonial state. This omission is also reflected in the UN’s definition of “civilian population”; it’s applied extensively to include a settler population that participated wilfully in Israel’s colonial project, creating the foundations for colonial violence to flourish. If this distinction is not adequately addressed, it stands to reason that the UN is unwilling to address the actual targeting of civilians, Palestinian civilians, whose lives have been considered repeatedly by the imperialist organisation to be of lesser value as a strategy to encourage a widespread massacre.
Expecting the UN and its advisors to acknowledge the legitimacy of Palestinian armed resistance is pie in the sky. In UN vocabulary, an “impartial investigation” is equivalent to the intended suppression of Palestinian resistance by insisting upon further monologues disguised as “negotiations” intended to consign the liberation of historic Palestine to the dustbin. Decades of increasing subjugation have imparted a decisive stance to the Palestinian population: liberation can never be achieved through compromised international channels. Hence, the issue of legitimacy with regard to Palestinian resistance derived from history and memory, away from the manipulative charters determined by imperialist diktats.
A health disaster of widespread proportions is rapidly unfolding in the Gaza Strip as a direct result of the ongoing conflict, said the United Nations today.
Mr. James W. Rawley, the Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), together with Mr. Robert Turner, UNRWA’s Director of Operations in the Gaza Strip, and Dr. Ambrogio Manenti, acting Head of Office of WHO’s operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, expressed grave concern regarding the lack of protection for medical staff and facilities, and the deteriorating access to emergency health services for the 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
“We are now looking at a health and humanitarian disaster”, warned Mr. Rawley, adding, “the fighting must stop immediately”.
After more than three weeks of intense conflict, Gaza’s medical services and facilities are on the verge of collapse. One third of hospitals, 14 primary healthcare clinics and 29 Palestinian Red Crescent and Ministry of Health ambulances have been damaged in the fighting. At least five medical staff have been killed in the line of duty and tens have been injured. At least 40% of medical staff are unable to get to their places of work such as clinics and hospitals due to widespread violence and at least half of all public health primary care clinics are closed.
In addition, in the last 24 hours, anonymous calls were made to staff at both the Najjar Hospital in Rafah and Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City warning of imminent attacks, causing major panic and chaos among patients and staff. Najjar Hospital was evacuated and remains closed due to fighting nearby.
The hospitals and clinics that are still functioning are overwhelmed: since 7 July over 8000 people have reportedly been injured, many seriously. Critical supplies of medicines and disposables are almost depleted and damage and destruction of power supplies has left hospitals dependent on unreliable back-up generators. Al Shifa, the main referral hospital in the Gaza Strip, is inundated with casualties and people seeking safety in its grounds. “The ability to provide necessary healthcare is being severely compromised. This puts the lives of thousands of Palestinians in needless danger”, said Dr. Manenti.
An estimated 460,000 people have been displaced and are now living in overcrowded conditions in schools, with relatives or in makeshift shelters. This, coupled with lack of adequate water and sanitation, poses serious risks of outbreak of water-borne and communicable diseases. “Hundreds of thousands of people are sheltering in terrible conditions, pushing UNRWA’s coping capacity to the edge”, said Mr. Turner.
Mr. Rawley stressed that “international law sets out clear obligations on the parties to the conflict to respect the status of hospitals and medical facilities as protected objects, to respect the status of and ensure the protection of medical personnel, to ensure the protection of civilians and to respect the fundamental human right to health “. The three officials also paid tribute to Gaza’s medical staff for working tirelessly in dangerous and difficult conditions to continue to provide urgently needed healthcare.
For more information, please contact:
OCHA: Hayat Abu-Saleh, + 972 (0) 54 33 11 816, firstname.lastname@example.org
UNRWA: Chris Gunness, +972 (0) 54 240 2659, email@example.com
WHO: Ambrogio Manenti, +20-100-3333-402, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mahmoud Daher, +970 (0) 59 8944650, email@example.com
Palestinians are “facing a precipice” in Gaza, the top UN refugee official there told the Security Council on Thursday in a strongly-worded appeal for action.
With more than 240,000 Palestinians already sheltering in UN facilities — four times the number from the last Gaza conflict in 2008-2009 — Pierre Krahenbuhl said he had reached breaking point.
“I believe the population is facing a precipice and appeal to the international community to take the steps necessary to address this extreme situation,” the head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA told the 15-member council.
“We have exceeded the tolerable limit that we can accommodate,” Krahenbuhl said, adding that he was “alarmed” by the latest Israeli instructions to civilians to evacuate two areas in Gaza targeted for more attacks.
“It is past time for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire as called for by the council,” he said.
Krahenbuhl spoke to the council by audiolink from Gaza after Israel vowed to press on with its military campaign, with the stated goal of destroying a network of tunnels used by Hamas.
Later on Thursday, the UN Security Council called for humanitarian pauses in Gaza and renewed its appeal for an immediate ceasefire.
The Council expressed “grave disappointment” that repeated appeals for an end to the fighting had not been heeded.
Meanwhile, UNRWA has declared a state of emergency and launched an appeal for funding.
“UNRWA urgently seeks $60 million to respond to the immediate shelter, food, health and psycho-social needs of affected families; to replenish emergency stocks; and to prepare for carrying out vital interventions that will be required immediately upon cessation of military activities,” its website said.
International alarm has grown over the civilian death toll from 24 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza strip, with the Security Council calling for a humanitarian truce in a statement issued early Monday.
In her address to the council, UN humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos called for “more humanitarian pauses” to allow relief workers to reach those in need.
“Pauses must be daily, predictable, and adequate in length so that humanitarian staff can dispatch relief to those in need, rescue the injured, recover the dead and allow civilians some reprieve so that they can restock and resupply their homes,” she said.
Amos said finding shelter from Israeli strikes was becoming increasingly difficult for the 1.8 million people of Gaza.
“The reality of Gaza today is that no place is safe,” she said.
More than 1,420 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians, have died in the fighting, along with 58 Israelis, 56 of them soldiers.
The appeal to the council came a day after an attack on a UN-run school hosting refugees left 19 dead, drawing outrage from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who lashed out: “Nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children.”
UN officials have called for a full investigation after an Israeli artillery strike hit the school.
Krahenbuhl described dire conditions for the shelters with very few showers and latrines, and problems with water supplies in classrooms holding 80 people.
“Disease outbreak is beginning” with cases of skin infections such as scabies while thousands of pregnant women have taken refuge in the UN schools, he said.
“We are sheltering newborn infants in these appalling conditions,” said the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinians.
“The illegal blockade of Gaza must be lifted,” he added, referring to Israeli closure of crossing points that rights groups maintain have turned the Gaza Strip into an open-air prison.
Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour renewed his appeal to the Security Council to adopt a tough resolution calling for an end to the fighting, an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and lifting of the Israeli blockade.
“Enough is enough, this genocide should be stopped immediately,” Mansour told reporters after the council meeting.
Gaza-born pop star Mohammed Assaf also appealed to the UN to act to stop the bloodshed.
“There is pain in my heart from what is happening in my town and to my people in my beloved home, Gaza that is hurting,” said Khan Younis-born Assaf, winner of the popular Arab Idol talent show, said in a video distributed by the United Nations Thursday.
“Now we all have to help my beloved people in Gaza, all those who suffer in Gaza, all those who suffer under the attacks,” said Assaf, who accompanied an airlift of humanitarian supplies from Dubai to Jordan, from where it continued to Gaza by road.
“We have to help Gaza stand up on its feet one more time,” added Assaf, who is the goodwill ambassador of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.
Jordan last week circulated a draft resolution, but the council has yet to debate the measure and has instead adopted a statement calling for the humanitarian truce.
The statement was adopted despite reservations from the United States.
UNRWA’s spokesman in Gaza, Chris Gunness, broke down in tears Wednesday when Al-Jazeera television interviewed him after 16 people died in the shelling of a UN school in Gaza.
“The rights of Palestinians, even their children, are wholesale denied and its appalling,” Gunness said in a voice choked with emotion, before burying his face in his hands and sobbing uncontrollably.
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay lashed out at the Zionist entity on Thursday, over its attacks in Gaza, saying that such attacks are considered as Israel’s “deliberate defiance” of international law.
Pillay slammed the country’s attacks on homes, schools, hospitals and United Nations facilities which are sheltering 250,000 civilians in Gaza.
“There appears to be deliberate defiance of obligations that international law imposes on Israel,” the South African told reporters.
Pillay said that repeated calls to respect the laws of war had gone unheeded during the latest crisis and previous spikes in the Israeli offensive.
“The same pattern of attacks is occurring now on homes, schools, hospitals, UN premises. None of this appears to me to be accidental,” she said.
She spoke a day after Israeli shells slammed into a UN school in Jabalia refugee camp which was sheltering some 3,300 homeless Gazans, killing at least 16 people.
Pillay said that under international law, civilian facilities should not be attacked, noting that due warning must be given before an attack, in order to allow civilians to be evacuated.
“It is completely unconscionable that the proportionality and precaution that international law requires is being ignored,” said Pillay.
She also criticized Israel’s strikes on Gaza’s power plant, as well as water and sewerage systems.
Last week, the UN Human Rights Council voted to open an inquiry into the Gaza offensive, despite fierce opposition from the Zionist entity and its international sponsor, the United States.
“We cannot allow impunity. We cannot allow this lack of accountability to go on,” Pillay said on Thursday, calling into question domestic investigations by Israel into abuses.
“I join the world in condemning the aggression that is taking place in Gaza, and particularly the killing of civilians. This is wrong and it will always be wrong,” she added.
GAZA CITY – The UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Wednesday condemned an Israeli attack on one of its schools used to house thousands of internally displaced Gazans earlier the same day.
“Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza,” UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said in a statement.
“Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school, in which 3,300 people had sought refuge. We believe there were at least three impacts,” the statement said.
“The precise location of the Jabalia Elementary Girls School and the fact that it was housing thousands of internally displaced people was communicated to the Israeli army seventeen times … to ensure its protection.”
The statement went on to say that the incident was the sixth time an UNRWA shelter had been struck during Israel’s offensive on Gaza.
“UNRWA condemns in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces,” spokesman Chris Gunness tweeted.
Gaza’s health ministry said earlier that at least 16 people were killed in an Israeli shelling on a UN school in Jabaliya camp. The ministry called on UNRWA to immediately condemn the attack.
An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma’an later that initial reports suggested Palestinian militants had fired mortar shells at Israeli soldiers from the vicinity of the school.
The Israeli army responded by firing back at the “origins of fire,” the spokeswoman said.
“The incident is still being reviewed,” she added.
Over 70 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces so far on the 23rd day of the Israeli offensive, bringing the three-week total above 1,300.
More than 200,000 people, or about one in eight Gazans, have been forced to leave their homes as a result of the assault.
A United Nations committee has approved a resolution calling on Britain and Argentina to negotiate a solution to their dispute over the Malvinas Islands, also known as the Falkland Islands.
On Thursday, the UN Decolonization Committee approved the new resolution, calling for a negotiated solution to the 200-year dispute.
This comes as the world body refuses to recognize the outcome of a 2013 referendum on the political status of Malvinas. According to the vote, the territory claimed by both Argentina and the UK, would remain a British colony.
The British government has so far rejected several UN resolutions and repeated calls from Argentina for negotiations on the sovereignty of the region.
Britain argues that it is up to the islands to decide. But Argentina says the English-speaking islanders are an implanted population kept stagnant for the purpose of occupying the territory.
Argentina’s foreign minister said the dispute is not with the people living in the Malvinas but with the British government.
“Argentina has no problem with citizenship. Our problem is that the United Kingdom is occupying Argentinean territory against international law and the United Nations expressly rejects applying to the Malvinas the principle of self-determination,” Hector Timerman said on Thursday.
Argentina and Britain fought a 74-day-long war in 1982 over the islands. The conflict ended with the British side claiming victory.
Located about 480 kilometers (300 miles) off Argentina’s coast, the Malvinas Islands have been declared part of the British overseas territories since the UK established its colonial rule on the territories in 1833.
Yesterday at 11am, the Syrian Mission to the United Nations convened a press conference featuring people from the US who observed the recent elections.
Five minutes into the opening comments of Syrian Ambassador Bashar Al-Jaafari, the UN webcast cut off. The thousands of journalists, political analysts, and others who view UN webcasts each day from all over the world were denied the ability to watch the press conference, and hear what was said.
This is not the first time this has happened when Bashar Jaafari is speaking. This occurred on June 7th earlier this year, and on numerous occasions throughout 2013. Reporters at Inner City Press reported that this is not accidental, but was ordered by Michele DuBach, Acting Deputy Director-News & Media Operations.
This comes in the context of other UN harassment of Syria. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has met with Ahmad Jarba, a leader of violent insurgent groups in Syria, but has refused to meet with Bashar Jaafari. Though Syria pays over $1 million to the UN each year, it is not being treated as an equal member state.
Watch the important, UN Press Conference about Syria, that someone obviously doesn’t want you, or anyone else, to see:
The Zionist entity was elected as vice-chair of the UN Special Committee on Decolonization, in a new human rights farce.
The committee deals with matters related to the Palestinian cause, like probing the Israeli occupation to Palestine, following the international resolutions on this cause and investigating the Israeli violations to the international law and human rights.
Mordechai Amihai, the Zionist entity’s former consul-general in Turkey, is to represent the Western European and Others Group in the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in September on the Fourth Special Political and Decolonization Committee.
Amihai was elected on Wednesday afternoon with 74 votes from UN member states.
Sixty-eight countries abstained from the vote, and 15 votes were declared invalid.
The minimum number of votes needed was 39, with Britain, the US and Canada showing strong backing for the colonizer entity.
The Arab Group of UN member states voiced opposition to the move. Qatar, speaking on behalf of the Arab states, described Israel as a “State that violated the United Nations Charter and international law.”
The Arab country said Israel’s “track record was rife with murder and its occupation had lasted more than 66 years, Israel was not qualified to preside over questions pertaining to Palestinian refugees, peacekeeping and the investigation of its own illegal practices.”
China and Russia have jointly submitted an updated draft international treaty on banning the deployment of weapons in outer space to a UN-sponsored disarmament conference.
The US and Israel have repeatedly voted against UN resolutions on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.
The updated draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects, was presented at a plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament, the world’s sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations.
The new draft treaty prepared by Russia and China is a revised version of the one the two allies had presented earlier, including definition and scope of the treaty, organizations as well as mechanisms to solve disputes, said Wu Haitao, China’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary for disarmament affairs.
The Treaty on Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space and of the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects (PPWT) was first proposed by China and Russia in February 2008 as an international legally binding treaty that would outlaw the weaponization of space.
Wu said this new draft treaty is aimed at advancing the Conference on Disarmament toward negotiations for signing an international legal document.
Space assets like satellites are at increasing threat of being disabled from hostile countries as risk of cyber-warfare grows.
Beijing has warned of the growing risks of the weaponization of outer space with the rapid development of space technology, which the Chinese Ambassador said will “hinder the peaceful use of outer space, break global strategic balance and stability and hamper nuclear disarmament”.
The existing legislation on outer space cannot prevent the use or the threat of force against outer space assets, Wu said.
Telecommunications, GPS navigation systems, power etc could be easily switched off with the disabling of satellites in the backdrop of a militarized outer space.
China has stressed during the UN conference on the urgent need to sign a new international legal document to prevent the weaponization of outer space.
China and Russia are willing to include suggestions and ideas from other parties and continue to improve the draft treat in order to lay a foundation for the start of practical negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament, Wu said.
Over 290 Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons have been on a hunger strike since April protesting their indefinite detention. Now UN’s Ban-Ki moon demands Tel Aviv to either charge administrative inmates or release them “without delay.”
“The Secretary-General is concerned about reports regarding the deteriorating health of Palestinian administrative detainees who have been on hunger strike for over a month,” Ban’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said in a statement.
The UN Secretary-General “reiterates his long-standing position that administrative detainees should be charged or released without delay,” he added.
According to the spokesman, Ban has taken note of the recent concerns issued by different human rights bodies and “has responded, reiterating the United Nations’ well known positions.”
Meanwhile, UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has also expressed her concern over a legislative amendment before the Israeli Knesset to allow force-feeding of the inmates.
The legislation, if passed, “would permit force-feeding and medical treatment of prisoners on hunger strike against their will under certain conditions, in contravention of international standards,” Dujarric added.
On Thursday, members of a UN Special Committee which monitors human rights violations of the Palestinians on the occupied territories called upon Israeli authorities “to heed the demand of the hunger strikers to end the practice of arbitrary administrative detention of Palestinians,” a committee said in a statement.
“It is a desperate plea by these detainees to be afforded a very basic standard of due process: to know what they are accused of and to be able to defend themselves,” the committee said.
According to the UN body, the Israeli government has detained “a large number of Palestinians for reasons not explicitly indicated.”
“Initial administrative detention orders of six-month periods can be renewed an indefinite number of times without producing charges,” the committee said.
The first protests among the Palestinian detainees started April 24, when a group of about 100 prisoners launched a peaceful protest, the UN Special Committee said. The inmates were “inspired” by their months and years in detention in Israel without being charged with any crimes. Now the total number of hunger strikers has reached 290. At least 65 prisoners have been hospitalized as a result of the strike.
According to the UN committee, among the inmates there are currently 11 Palestinian legislators, including eight held under administrative detention.
“Given that there are more than 5,000 Palestinian detainees in Israeli custody, we strongly appeal to the Israeli authorities to allow all Palestinian detainees, especially women and children, to be periodically seen by Palestinian doctors in order to avoid losing more lives,” the Committee said.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday Israeli doctors said they wouldn’t begin force-feeding the detainees, a move that put them on a collision course with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. Netanyahu reportedly asked the authorities to speed up the bill’s reading, saying that he is confident the force-feeding will eventually be carried out.
The Israeli PM is now citing controversial US policy of force-feeding of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, a move that prompted long hunger-strikes among the inmates. The Guantanamo policy has drawn criticism from the United Nations human rights office, which said it constitutes torture and is thus a violation of international law.
Moscow has accused a UN report on violence in Ukraine’s Odessa of being purposefully blind to hard facts and simply “carrying out a political order to whitewash” the actions of the coup-appointed government in Kiev.
The Russian foreign ministry believes that the report presented by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is marked by a systematic and routine ignorance of any Kiev involvement in sparking the Odessa carnage, while placing all the blame unequivocally with the pro-Russian self-defense forces. The ministry statement remarks that not a single word was said about neo-Nazi elements who engaged in setting buildings on fire with people inside, shooting dead anyone who opposed them and finishing of the wounded in plain sight.
This especially concerns the events taking place in the House of the Trade Unions on May 2.
The foreign ministry believes that such “double standards” are a clear indicator of the international organization’s mission to pander to a select side in the conflict without any regard for hard evidence.
The United Nations spoke on Friday of the “alarming deterioration” of the human rights situation in eastern Ukraine. The report by the organization’s head for human rights, Navi Pillay, focuses also on the problems the Tatar minority currently faces in Crimea.
However Moscow said Pillay’s monthly report failed to mention crucial facts, starting with the burnings and the coordinated murders; the inaction by Ukraine’s law enforcement as well as the multiple arrests of individuals rallying for federalization; the multiple kidnappings and instances of torture, as well as lack of any credible evidence to back up those actions. In this interpretation, “the entire story is basically being delivered as Kiev’s official line would have been.”
The foreign ministry found it peculiar that “in some 30 pages of text, there is not one mention of any manifestation of aggressive nationalism and neo-Nazism in Ukraine.”
Russia criticized the authors of the report for violating the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, which clearly dictates that political neutrality must be exhibited whatever the situation. “When UN High Commissioner for Human Rights announced Crimea referendum ‘illegal’ following the suit of Kiev and its Western patrons, it seconded that it accepts a nation’s right to self-determination established by international human rights laws only when it is politically favorable,” said the statement.
The icing on the cake, in Moscow’s view, could be seen in the venue where the UN findings were presented – and by whom: in Kiev, by the UN secretary-general’s assistant, Ivan Shimonovich, who has a “reputation for a lack of objectivity, making sweeping judgments” and “unsubstantiated claims”.
Shimonovich’s role in the presentation is seen as “an unambiguous indication” of the OHCHR’s bias and lack of independence and objectivity.