Israel’s Raid on Freedom Flotilla: UN Security Council Ignores Basic Precepts of Justice and International Law

The Unites Nations Security Council has once more demonstrated its irrelevance – and incompetence.


This week, Israel massacres a few boat loads of humanitarian aid volunteers on their way to deliver medicines, food, and building materials, in an act of blatant piracy and terrorism in international waters.


In inimitable style, the UN Security Council calls for Israel to investigate itself, and report back about what they did.


No criminal investigation, such as Kosovo received for its war crimes, not even an independent inquiry, but a Washington-backed whitewash by the perpetrators of the most heinous crime imaginable – an attack on unarmed humanitarian volunteers conducting an aid mission.


 This is not good enough. The people of the world deserve international organs that conduct themselves in accordance with the most basic internationally-accepted precepts of justice – procedural fairness.


The three principles of procedural fairness are the bias rule, the evidence rule, and the hearing rule. The bias rule “requires a decision-maker to be disinterested or unbiased in the matter to be decided.  A person adjudicating on a dispute must have no pecuniary or proprietary interest in the outcome of the proceedings and must not reasonably be suspected, or show a real likelihood, of bias.”


It is thus clearly impossible for the victims of this massacre to receive any semblance of justice from any inquiry conducted by the State of Israel, both the perpetrator of the crime, and a party with significant interest in the matter to be decided, and the outcome.


We would not accept the police throwing a criminal investigation over to a murder accused to conduct – no more should we accept this outrageous abdication of responsibility by the UN.


If the Security Council is serious about its call for a “prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards” then it must observe those standards, and put the inquiry into the hands of an unbiased entity. Nothing less will suffice.


Otherwise, this incident becomes just one more example of the absolute ineffectiveness and irrelevance of the United Nations Security Council in today’s world, but especially in relation to Israel and Palestine.(1)

(1)Israel has completely ignored  every Security Council Resolution since their 1967 invasion of Palestinian territories. UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 demanded their withdrawal.  They ignored them. Nothing happened.    

Receiving the tacit green light, Israel went on to invade Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Syria’s Golan Heights and set up settlements in both. Israel also invaded Lebanon in 1978 and 1982 and maintained a long-term occupation in the southern part of the country.


Although Israel later withdrew from Egyptian and Lebanese territory (for a while) they have continued to occupy Palestinian and Golan lands.


The Security Council did nothing.  43 years later it has still done nothing.


Israel then implements a murderous blockade, preventing medicines and food from reaching the millions of Palestinians trapped within the siege, destroying their housing and infrastructure and leaving them homeless, cutting them off from the outside world – in short, causing immense human suffering not unlike that suffered by millions in Nazi Germany, including Jews.


Various UN spokespeople weakly call for an end to the siege of Gaza, but there are no resolutions – by now presumably even they accept how ineffectual they are.

Julie Webb-Pullman is a New Zealander writer specializing in Latin American issues.

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Articles by: Julie Webb

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