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Thursday, June 18, 2015


The UN Security Council is meeting today to hold a public debate on the latest United Nations report on children and armed conflict.

This is, of course, a laudable topic for public debate... especially by so august a body [cough].

But as usual, the debate will be focusing on Israel; specifically on the impact on Palestinian children of the 2014 war in Gaza.

In the report, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is quoted as saying "the unprecedented and unacceptable scale of the impact on children in 2014 raises grave concerns about Israel's compliance with international humanitarian law ... (and) excessive use of force." [source]

Let's forget, for the moment, that the report ignores the effect on Israeli children of the thousands of missiles and mortars that were deliberately fired towards Israeli population centers before and during the 2014 Gaza war.

What really deserves notice in Ban Ki-moon's statement is the word 'unprecedented'.

If you aren't sure what it means, I'm nothing, if not a giver:

  1. never done or known before.

I can forgive the U.N. Secretary General having a tenuous grasp of English.  After all, he is not a native speaker of the language, and was only posted to English speaking countries for 42 of the 45 years his diplomatic career has spanned (the non-English speaking countries being Austria and Slovenia, respectively... although one could argue that during those non-English-speaking postings the lingua franca of his work and social life was still likely English since, according to his biography, he doesn't speak German or any of the dozens of Balkan languages). [source]

However, one would expect that the Secretary General of the United Nations, who holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Seoul National University, and a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, to have a passing knowledge of human history and the devastating effects of warfare on civilian populations.

But even if he managed to skip those classes in school, it is inconceivable that someone who, at the age of six, was forced to flee with his family to live on a remote mountainside for much of the Korean War, has absolutely no recollection of the devastation that conflict inflicted on the children of the Korean Peninsula. [source]

Unfortunately, this sorry little excuse for a career diplomat has gone on record before the most prestigious and influential international body in the world (which he leads), stating that never before in the annals of recorded history, has any military power inflicted so much suffering and devastation on the children of its enemy during an armed conflict, as Israel did on the Palestinians of Gaza in 2014. 

That is what unprecedented means.  

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Posted by David Bogner on June 18, 2015 | Permalink


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Not just unprecedented. Absolutely, totally, and in all other ways, unprecedented.

Posted by: Eliezer Eisenberg | Jun 18, 2015 9:02:14 PM

Ban-Ki-Moon is correct in his usage. It is unprecendented that Jews should be able to inflict casualties upon those who would try to kill them. The fact that Jews fight back these days, rather than quietly going to the cross, makes the world very uncomfortable.

I am less frustrated with Ban Ki Moon than with Benjamin Netanyahu. If we are going to face these accusations no matter what, why do we pull our punches?

Posted by: Rich | Jun 21, 2015 9:01:03 PM

What`s unprecedented is the restraint Israel has always shown when faced with barrages of missiles fired at its civilian population. No other country with the ability to respond in kind would hold back.

Posted by: Ed | Jun 22, 2015 5:59:07 PM

If Israel will be held accountable no matter what it does I agree level gaza and be done with it once and for all and not have to revisit the same war again and again.

Posted by: dave | Jun 23, 2015 12:55:39 AM

Welcome back from hiatus!
Without a word from you since Yom Yerushalayim, I was suffering Treppenwitz withdrawal.
There's not much to add to the above other than, while it would be nice to turn Aza into the worlds largest beach, absent the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction emanating from there, we're not going to do it.
....and if such a disaster were to occur, I wonder if even then we'd do what was necessary.
I thought "Turn the other cheek" was a Christian virtue.

Posted by: Michael Harbater | Jun 23, 2015 3:19:56 PM

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