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Gaza Ceasefire Over, Ban Wants "Understanding," Jordan Wants to Be Useful

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 19, more here -- After the most recent Gaza ceasefire ended, in front of the UN Security Council Jordan's new Permanent Representative said there are still talks on a draft resolution -- if it would be "useful" -- and UN Secretary General issued this statement:

"The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest terms the breach of the Egyptian brokered humanitarian ceasefire which was to expire at midnight local time. He is gravely disappointed by the return to hostilities.
"The Secretary-General reminds both sides of their responsibility not to let the situation escalate. The hopes of the people in Gaza for a better future and the hopes of the people in Israel for sustainable security rest on the talks in Cairo. The Secretary-General calls on the delegations to live up to this expectation and urges the parties to reach an immediate understanding on a durable ceasefire which also addresses the underlying issues afflicting Gaza."

  An "immediate understanding"?

  On August 18, after seven-year UN envoy Robert Serry briefed the UN Security Council, Inner City Press asked him if he is leaving his position in October. Video here.

  Serry shook his head, said it is between him and Ban Ki-moon.

  Inner City Press asked about Ban's stated five-year rule for staying in a UN post. Serry replied if that were a rule, he would be in violation. So it is not a rule. But still: October, contract expiring?

  On the destroyed and damaged UNRWA schools, Inner City Press asked Serry if there will be a UN Board of Inquiry as in 2009. Serry said that too will be up to Ban.

   In the UN General Assembly meeting about Gaza on August 6, Ban said "attacks against UN premises, along with other suspected breaches of international law, must be swiftly investigated."

  So in the 12 days between the two statements, has anything been done? In 2009, Ban was lobbied about his cover-letter to the previous board of inquiry report by Ian Martin; now in 2014, as it made up for it, he accepted free private jet travel from Qatar, with its stake and position in the conflict. Neither is acceptable.

 On the latter, Israel's Ambassador Ron Prosor came out of the Council after Serry's public briefing and said, among other things, that Qatar has bought campuses of six universities, Harrod's and the PSG football club. He cited the 2022 World Cup, but did not mention Ban accepting the Qatar-funded private jet. He passed out a flier, "Captured Hamas Combat Manuel," which Inner City Press put online here.

 Back on August 6 at the UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq if Ban would at least set up a Board of Inquiry as was done in 2009. (Inner City Press first published the cover-letter, here.)

  Haq wouldn't say if a Board of Inquiry would be set up; he called the decision an internal one. Video here and embedded below. But Wikileaks released documents showing that Ban allowed himself to be lobbied about the 2009 Board of Inquiry report by Ian Martin, including on what should go in "his" cover letter. See here. And this time?

 Update: UN staff have written to Ban, the GA President and this month's Security Council president, Mark Lyall Grant of the UK, asking for accountability. The letter is here. We hope to have more on this.


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