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Israel-Hamas War
Columns
Opinion articles written in the style of their author. These texts are to be based on verified facts and must be respectful towards people, even though their actions may be criticized. All opinion articles written by individuals from outside the staff of EL PAÍS shall feature, along with the author’s name (regardless of their greater or lesser renown), a footer stating their office, academic title, political affiliation (if any) and main occupation, or the occupation related to the topic being assessed

Israel seeks to demolish the same United Nations that gave birth to it

The U.N. has never been as weak as it is now. The Security Council, an instrument for peace, is incapable of confronting barbarism

Israel seeks to demolish the same United Nations that gave birth to it
Nicolás Aznárez

Human beings may want to be good, but they are well aware of the degrees of evil (economic plunder, torture, ethnic cleansing, genocide, crimes against humanity) of which they are capable. To address that fact, those same human beings imposed democratic norms on politics and created international institutions designed to confront such evil on a global scale and to hold those responsible to account. That is why it is so important that the international institutions born in the aftermath of World War II remain strong, and why it is so shocking that the main one of all, the United Nations, is failing so miserably in its fundamental purpose at the beginning of the 21st century: to preserve peace and protect children and refugees. Never has the U.N. been so impotent and its Secretary General so crestfallen.

In his most recent speech, António Guterres acknowledged that the Security Council, the U.N.’s main instrument for achieving peace, is paralyzed and incapable of dealing with the barbarism that has been taking place in various parts of the world for months, especially in Gaza. Neither Guterres’ anguished speech nor practically the entire weight of the U.N. has been able to impose a ceasefire, vetoed by the United States. For five months, the Israeli government has been inflicting brutal punishment on an unarmed civilian population, resulting in nearly 100,000 victims; 28,000 dead, 11,000 of them children, and 67,000 wounded and mutilated, of whom 27,000 are minors. The United Nations has not even been able to ensure the arrival of sufficient humanitarian aid for the two million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, nor to defend its own organizations on the ground. Schools, refugee centers, U.N. facilities and hospitals have been bombed and razed to the ground, and journalists killed in their homes. The United Nations should be responsible and accountable for all of them. But it has not even been able to safeguard its own agency for refugees in Palestine, UNRWA. It is a small consolation to know that the Spanish government has been consistent with its humanitarian obligations, even increasing its financial contribution to UNRWA.

Be that as it may, the only thing that is going to be remembered of the U.N. is its complete shipwreck, and those who believe that something like this will not have painful consequences — as well as those who prefer to ignore what is happening — are irresponsible.

“Our world is entering an age of chaos,” Guterres lamented. But what is happening in Gaza is not the result of an age of chaos, or even of a brutal terrorist attack by Hamas, but of a perfectly organized plan by an extremist and ultra-nationalist government to take over territory by expelling its current inhabitants, and to do so with total impunity.

A report published in Foreign Affairs magazine by Aluf Benn, editor of the extraordinary Israeli newspaper Haaretz, makes it perfectly clear how Benjamin Netanyahu has long been planning the occupation and “ethnic cleansing” of Gaza and the West Bank, and how he has been dragging Israeli society into those plans, the way history shows such evil things are done: step by step.

Only such callous indifference explains why in 2018 Israeli society accepted Netanyahu’s proposal to define Israel by law as the “nation state of the Jewish people,” so that only Jewish Israeli citizens have certain rights recognized, while Arab Israeli citizens become a subordinate group.

Tens of thousands of Jewish Israelis, with living memory, opposed this law and it always draws admiration that there are courageous Israelis who in an atmosphere of harassment say there should be a single Israeli-Palestinian state, with equal rights for all its citizens, an idea that was born in the 1940s and 1950s, but that has always met with violent opposition from the most radical religious and nationalist sectors. Israel was not created as a religious state, but it was born in the delivery room of the same United Nations that is about to be demolished, and where its birth certificate was signed and its registry is kept.

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