The United Nations has caused uproar for statements made by one of its officials, claiming Israel does not have the right of self-defense against Hamas terrorists. This position has come as a shock to many as Israel and Hamas have been in a long struggle for power, and Israel has constantly defended itself from a barrage of attacks from the terror group.
The controversial statements were made by Michael Lynk, the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories. In a press conference on May 20th, he declared that there was ‘no justification’ for Israel to defend itself from the attacks of Hamas. He further stated that these actions ‘amount to a war crime’.
His narrow interpretation of international law has come as a surprise to many observers, who understand the gravity of the situation in the region and the immense risk to Israel’s security caused by Hamas’ reign of terror. In light of the harsh response to Israel’s self-defense, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations condemned Mr. Lynk’s comments, claiming they violated fundamental human rights.
The international community was quick to criticize the UN’s stance. Many have argued that the right of self-defense is a basic principle of international law, and that Israel should be allowed to exercise this right just like any other nation. Even the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has said that the UN should defend Israel’s right to self-defense, despite Mr. Lynk’s position.
This incident has further highlighted the controversial bias that exists in the UN regarding the conflict between Israel and its neighbors. It is another example of how the UN’s official stance, despite being meant to be neutral, is disproportionately critical of Israel, while often overlooking other nations’ actions and violations of international law.
What is more, it has confirmed the deeply-held suspicion of many in the international community that the UN has a double-standard when it comes to international law, with an overriding bias against the Middle Eastern nation.
The UN wishes to preserve the impartiality of international law, however it seems that is not always the case when it comes to Israel. This latest incident demonstrates how even the most basic right of self-defense can be denied to Israel by certain members of the international community. The UN must be careful to ensure equality and even-handedness in its rulings if it is to uphold the integrity of international law.