Sex scandal hits UN as UN Chief criticises Israel’s annexation plans

Analysts believe a video bringing a bad name to the UN against the backdrop of fierce criticism and opposition to Israel's plans to annex West Bank was surprising. For some analysts, it wasn't much of a surprise that Israel could go to such an extent to undermine the UN.

UN Sexual video

On 26th June, a video surfaced on social media of what appeared to be a sexual act taking place in an official UN vehicle in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The video bearing a UN number plate and a logo showing a UN official involved in a sexual act was shared widely on social media and was apparently filmed on the main street by the Tel Aviv beach. None of the passengers’ faces are identifiable from the video.

In the 18-second long video, a woman in a red dress is seen straddling a man in the back seat of a clearly marked white UN vehicle. Another passenger can be seen slumped in the front, but the driver can’t be seen as the car moves away.

Read more: Israel’s Netanyahu under fire from all sides over annexation plan

Analysts believe a video bringing a bad name to the UN against the backdrop of fierce criticism and opposition to Israel’s plans to annex West Bank was surprising. For some analysts, it wasn’t much of a surprise that Israel could go to such an extent to undermine the UN.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Israel to abandon West Bank annexation plans.

UN opposes Israel’s annexation plans

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres while referring to Israel’s annexation plans said it would be the “most serious violation of international law,” in a report made public on Tuesday.

Read more: UN chief urges Israel to abandon West Bank annexation plans

The report to the Security Council comes ahead of its twice-yearly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, set for Wednesday. Several ministers are set to take part at the request of the Arab League.

In the document, Guterres says an Israeli annexation would be “devastating” for hopes of fresh negotiations and an eventual two-state solution.

“I call upon Israel to abandon its annexation plans,” the UN chief says in the report, adding that such a move would “threaten efforts to advance regional peace.”

“If implemented, this would constitute a most serious violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations.”

Guterres noted the opposition to annexation, including within Israeli society.

“This would be calamitous for Palestinians, Israelis and the region,” he said.

UN’s reaction to the video

The United Nations, on the same day when the video surfaced, said it was investigating the incident.

The United Nations is reeling after a video of what appears to be a sex act in an official U.N. car in Israel has gone viral — a video that has left the head of the U.N. “shocked and deeply disturbed.”

The UN spokesperson has said that UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services was “moving very quickly” on an investigation into the incident, and that it had nearly identified the individuals in the clip.

Read more: UN warns Israel not to annex parts of the West Bank

A spokesman for U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres told reporters on Friday that Guterres was “shocked and deeply disturbed by what is seen in the video” and “goes against everything that we stand for and have been working to achieve in terms of fighting misconduct by U.N. Staff.”

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson further added, “The behaviour seen in it is abhorrent and goes against everything that we stand for and having been working to achieve in terms of fighting misconduct by UN staff.”

“We expect the process to be concluded very quickly and intend to promptly take the appropriate action,” he said.

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The UN said the vehicle’s occupants are believed to be staffers from the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), a peacekeeping force established in 1948 and based in Jerusalem.

UNTSO, in its own statement, made similar remarks and said that it stands by the U.N.’s  “zero-tolerance policy against any kind of misconduct, including sexual exploitation and abuse, and reminds its personnel of their obligations to the UN Code of Conduct.”

The UN maintains strict regulations barring sexual misconduct by staffers.

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