United Nations refused to evacuate civilians from Gaza war zoneMark Langfan posts part of a fascinating interview with Penelope Ironside. Ms. Ironside heads up the UNICEF field office in Gaza. UNICEF is the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, and is meant to help children all over the world, including in both Gaza and Israel. Ms. Ironside reports that the UNICEF and the United Nations were asked by the IDF to evacuate civilians who were being used as human shields by Hamas in Gaza. The organizations refused to act.
At 29 minutes into the briefing, Ms. Ironside landed what could be an absolute bombshell in any future war-crimes tribunal. In response to a question of how she, and the entire UN Gaza staff, remained “neutral” in the face of Gaza children’s and civilian hardships, Ms. Ironside stated that, “There have been attempts to instrumentalize the UN in Gaza in this conflict. Including, there have been attempts [by Israel] to try to facilitate military operations against the [Palestinian] civilian population by facilitating the clearance of certain neighborhoods. The UN has refused to be a party to that.” (Emphasis added to convey Ms. Ironside’s emphasis.) Ms. Ironside, on a follow-up question, clarified that it was the Israelis that sought the UN’s help in clearing civilian neighborhoods of civilians in advance of imminent Israeli military operations directed at military targets imbedded in those civilian neighborhoods. She explained that the Israelis had informed them through “text messages, phone calls, and leaflets from Israel,” with “notice of some hours.” From her briefing statements, Ms. Ironside appeared to believe that “some hours” of Israeli notice to her meant “short notice.”Let's go to the videotape. The part we're looking for starts at 1:14.
In essence, she admitted that the UN, not just UNICEF, has purposefully refused to assist, or to “be a party” to, the orderly civilian evacuation of areas Israel had warned it would soon attack in several hours. Thus, from Ms. Ironsides’ briefing testimony, it would appear that the UN, itself, has had a significant and negative role in the number of Gazan civilian deaths that have consequently resulted.
I don't get this. How does evacuating citizens from a war zone to save them from harm 'instrumentalize' the UN? Why would the UN not try to save civilians whose lives are being placed at risk whether involuntarily due to force by Hamas, or voluntarily because they are willing to act as human shields?
There's a longer article here.