On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council met for an emergency special session to discuss Israeli strikes on Gaza. Keep in mind that when the Security Council called for this session, around 15 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli forces, among them Hamas’ military chief Ahmed al-Jabari, two other militants, and the remaining civilians, among them two children. Of course since then the number has increased (although only slightly), with casualties on both sides.
Now to give Ban Ki-Moon credit, the UN’s Secretary General did say make mention of Gaza’s rocket fire on Israel in context of the emergency session. According to the UN press release, Ban expressed concern “About the deteriorating situation in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip, which includes an alarming escalation of indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.”
But here’s a question: Where were the corresponding emergency sessions about this “alarming escalation of indiscriminate rocket fire?” Were any sessions called at the point that rockets fired from Gaza doubled from last year?
And even more damning, where are the UN Security Council’s emergency sessions on the conflict in Syria? From our brief research, it appears the last one was held in May 2012*. On November 14, the same day that the Security Council was holding its emergency session on Israel’s actions in Gaza, 80 people died in the Syrian conflict**. Yet the UN stands idle.
This despite the fact that in terms of geopolitics, what happens in Syria is far more important than anything between Hamas and Israel, although of course the latter has regional repercussions too, especially in terms of Egypt. But right now Syria is the linchpin of the Middle East; its implosion will impact Israel, the Hezbollah-Iran relationship, Russian interests in the region, the Sunni/Shia power struggle – just to name a few.
As per usual, however, anything happening in Israel or Gaza takes center stage both in the UN and in international media. It seems some lives are more important than others.
*Please correct us if we’re wrong. The UN Security Council doesn’t offer a listing of its emergency sessions.