As Olmert Brags of UN's Rocket
Focus, Ban Loses Voice, Jordan Truck Said Missing
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, January 21 -- As
Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert brags that he got a commitment from
UN's Ban Ki-moon that "any UN investigation of the damage resulting
the war in Gaza includes the damage Palestinian-fired rockets caused in
Israel's south," Ban's spokesperson Michele Montas on Wednesday said
first investigation Ban is asking for is by Israel itself. The steps
aren't clear, Ms. Montas said. Mr. Ban couldn't speak for himself. He
cancelled a press availability, and will reportedly only appear at the
Council, but not speak. "Cat got your tongue, Ban Ki-Mute?" one wag
snarked. Laryngitis, a more serious source told Inner City Press.
Inner City Press asked Ms. Montas to confirm a
Ha'aretz report that Ban
had agreed to Olmert's request. She nodded and confirmed, but upon
questions acknowledged that Ban does not control what investigations
Questioned repeatedly about negative comments in the region about Ban,
Montas said that a person who cannot be accused of not having the
Gazans at heart has praised Ban's performance.
emerged that Ms. Montas was
referring to the UN system's own John Ging, Gaza chief of the UN Relief
Works Agency. While Ging did on January 20 offer effusive praise of Ban
articulate and inspiring, it must be noted that Ging is part of the UN.
UN's Ban with Israel's Olmert, commitment to
investigate rockets made, then silence
other hand Robert Fisk, a journalist long covering the region, has
" Ban said it would not be up to him to launch a
crimes tribunal. It was pathetic."
Near the end of Wednesday's noon briefing, Ms.
Montas explicitly denied
that Ban has been conveying Israel's conditions to Hamas. Time did not
Inner City Press this follow-up: since Tony Blair has said that the
which the UN is a part, has said the Quartet will only deal or even
Hamas if it recognizes Israel, does Blair speak for Ban? Does Ban speak
Blair? Today, at least, Ban can't speak.
Inner City Press asked
also about a report, on the Palestinian Ma'an News service, that a
Jordan-given aid was hijacked and diverted at the Karem Shalom
UNRWA suspended other deliveries. Ms.
Montas said she would get back with an answer, which subsequently
your question on UNRWA trucks
unspokesperson-donotreply [at] un.org
Matthew Lee [at] innercitypress.com
1/21/2009 1:14:22 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
haven't seen the media reports you were referring to, and our
UNRWA didn't mention anything like this when we spoke with them right
the noon briefing today.
Inner City Press immediately sent the UN
in New York and the OPT a copy
of the Ma'an article about with a request for comment, "if UNRWA does
deny the diversion, please explain why the UN has not commented on it,
says it's unaware of it." Watch this site.
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
Reporter's mobile (and
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request
reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]