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On Gaza, UN's Ban Calls on Hamas to Support Ceasefire Plan

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 15, more here -- How is a statement of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon produced?  On July 15, ostensibly in response to questions, the UN read out this:

The Secretary General spoke with President Sisi on Sunday, 13 July. He appreciates and fully supports the Egyptian initiative for a cease-fire agreement. He is deeply worried that the fighting has not stopped, despite Israel's readiness to accept the ceasefire proposal and the Palestinian Authority's support. He calls on Hamas to cooperate with the Egyptian initiative, and urges all sides to build on this opening of a diplomatic channel. All parties must respect international humanitarian law. The UN will in the meantime continue providing much-needed emergency humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

   The serious question is why couldn't the UN come up with its own ceasefire proposal, less politically charged than the position of Egypian president Sisi? This UN statement, which one UN wag called "dutiful," is a position nearly identical to that of the US, as was the ordering and word choice in Ban's last statement of July 13:

The Secretary-General, abhorring the images of Israeli families hovering in shelters in fear for their children's safety, repeats his condemnation of Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza and demands an immediate cessation of these indecent attacks. The Secretary-General is also deeply worried about the impact on Palestinian families of Israeli military action.

   Several UN officials expressed surprise or even "disgust... at putting Israel first despite no deaths versus 180 in Palestine, abhorring the first but only 'deeply worried' about Gazans."

  And so based on complaints and reporting, Inner City Press can say that such statements are said to originate with a desk officer in UN Department of Political Affairs, run by former US diplomat Jeffrey Feltman.
  Then they are reviewed, on the Middle East, by Antonella Caruso, then Feltman, then in Ban's office one Andrew Gilmour. That's how this statement was issued, Inner City Press is informed.

  And this one?

  On Palestine joining or complaining to the International Criminal Court, Inner City Press' question which Ban Ki-moon dodged on July 9, Prosor did not answer. Yet.

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