Published by The Freeman Center
The Maccabean Online
Political Analysis and Commentary
UN Refused to Heed IDF Gaza Warnings
By Mark Langfan
4 September, 2014
On August 21,2014, Ms. Pernille Ironside, the Chief of the UNICEF Gaza Field Office, held a press conference at the United Nations in New York City “on the impact on children from the conflict in Gaza.”
UNICEF stands for United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. Unlike UNRWA which is charged solely with attending to Palestinians, UNICEF is supposed to be charged with assisting all children over the world, including Israeli children.
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."
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".
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.