Thursday, October 26, 2023

As Plain As He Can State It

We have a Donald J. Trump. We have a George Santos. Now it appears that the United Nations has an Antonio Guterres. CNN reports that at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

called for a humanitarian ceasefire on Tuesday amid the deepening crisis in Gaza, and told the Security Council that “clear violations of international humanitarian law” are being witnessed.

He called Hamas’ October 7 murder and kidnap rampage “appalling,” and said “nothing can justify the deliberate killing, injuring and kidnapping of civilians, or the launching of rockets against civilian targets.”

“It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” Guterres said. “The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished.”

“But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas. And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people. Excellencies, even war has rules,” he added.

The war in the Middle East does not pertain to "the Palestinian people" and clearly "the Palestinian people" are not being collectively punished. Israel is not bombing the West Bank which, before October 7, was home to those who were referred to as "the Palestinians." Were Israel to punish Palestinians collectively, there would by now be very few Palestinians still alive for Arab leaders and UN executives to feign concern about. 

Advising people to migrate from the area which a nation's military is planning to bomb is a very strange way of inflicting "collective punishment." Guterres should know better- and does. After strong criticism from Tel Aviv 

In an effort to “set the record straight,” Guterres said Wednesday he was “shocked by misinterpretations by some of my statement yesterday in the Security Council – as if I was was justifying acts of terror by Hamas.” 

“This is false. It was the opposite,” he told reporters, restating his condemnation of the October 7 attacks.

But Guterres did not back away from his Tuesday call for a ceasefire, or from his nod towards the historical treatment of Palestinians.

Guterres is "shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here"- and that he was accused of justifying acts of terror by Hamas after he rationalized acts of terror by Hamas. He was accused of justifying terrorism because that is precisely what he had done, having criticized the group before adding "The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished."

Those Palestinian people whose land is occupied live in the West Bank, not in Gaza. Were Gaza occupied, Hamas would not have been controlling the area for sixteen years and there would be no need for the invasion Israel is contemplating. 

According to CNN, the Secretary-General did not, as CNN put it, back away from his nod toward the historical treatment of Palestinians. The slaughter by Hamas was terrible, Guterres admitted, but there was good cause for it, he insisted while excusing the massacre.

If you're looking for George Santos to admit to serial deceit; Donald Trump to declare "I am a racist," or John Bolton to slip and say "I want war with Iran," And Antonio Guterres won't say "I hate Jews." It's not going to happen. This is not your corner bar. Men and women- even Mr. Trump- in the public eye understand the need not to be explicit.

Guterres wants us to recognize that "Hamas did not happen in a vacuum." After Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas won an election against  Fatah in 2006 and has ruled since then without an election- because, of course, they care so much about "Palestinians." They

“developed the capability to tax and extort,” said Matthew Levitt, who worked as a senior Treasury official focusing on countering terrorist financial networks. Hamas began to rake in taxes and kickbacks from salaries, sale of goods and smuggling, a sum that now reaches up to $300 million to $450 million a year, said Levitt, now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy think tank.

Although the U.S. and the European Union have designated Hamas as a terrorist organization, “they’re not effectively cut off from the international financial system,” said Hans-Jakob Schindler, senior director of the Counter Extremism Project. “They actually are able to invest funds in companies and in real estate.”

Hamas’ leadership has invested its income in an international investment portfolio worth $500 million in real estate and other assets from companies in Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, which it uses to conceal and launder its money, according to a Treasury announcement.

Cryptocurrencies have helped the group invest its money while bypassing international financial sanctions according to a report by the Counter Extremism Project. To combat those efforts. “Hamas was an early adopter of fundraising in crypto starting in 2019,” said Ari Redbord, a former federal prosecutor and global head of policy and government affairs at TRM Labs, which is working to track Hamas funding. “They were using Telegram channels to solicit donations. They then stood up website infrastructure to solicit donations.” Yet, experts, including Rebord, emphasize that cryptocurrency remains a small piece of the group’s financial strategy.

To some extent, Hamas also supplements its income with various criminal enterprises, experts said. “All large-scale terror groups, such as Hamas, have to ensure that they have multiple, overlapping financing streams, because there is international pressure on its finances,” Schindler said.  

Hamas may be merciless, barbaric, and running international criminal enterprises but at least they're killing Jews, a redeeming quality to Antonio Guterres.  And  the United Nations will offer only condemnation of Israel coupled with support for Hamas, couched in dishonest language parroting its deeply dishonest Secretary- General.


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