Will the UN Sex Scandal help Netanyahu’s Annexation Plan? Analysts wonder what is the significance of the sudden emergence of a UN Sex Scandal in Israel and will it help Netanyahu’s Annexation Plan? An 18-second video in which a woman wearing a red shirt is apparently straddling over a man in a United Nations (UN) 4X4 Vehicle. Video emerged in the Israeli capital city of Tel Aviv and has been trending across the United States and Europe for the past 24 hours.
This scandal has suddenly emerged at a time when United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guetteras had taken a strong position opposing Israeli PM Netanyahu’s Annexation plan for Jordan Valley and West Bank.
What exactly is Netanyahu’s Annexation Plan?
Netanyahu Annexation Plan? Israeli PM had made an election pledge in April that if elected he will incorporate Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements in West Bank into Israel proper. Israel has already annexed Golan Heights this year that were seized from Syria in the 1967 Arab Israel War.
There was scant reaction from Arab states on these recent annexations and Trump Administration solidly backed Netanyahu’s Annexation Plan.
However the planned annexations of Jordan Valley and West Bank settlements are very unpopular. Not only Palestinians, Israeli left, opposition and liberal Israeli media are opposing but also a large section of Israel settlers are against this planned annexation. Settlers are opposed because they think that making formal annexation will make more settlements difficult.
Netanyahu’s Annexation Plan was to be completed before US Elections
Netanyahu however wants to complete this annexation before the US elections of November 2020 because he is concerned that any change in the US politics may make it difficult and any future administration, even of Donald Trump, may not be able to back him the way this administration has been doing.
Even the Arab states like UAE that are vocal about improving relations with Israel are worried that annexation will infuriate Arab street, destabilise Jordan (that has huge Palestinian population) and will make it difficult to continue improving relations with Israel. UAE’s Minister of State, Otaiba, and its Ambassador to Washington recently made an open appeal to the Israel citizens to reject Netanyahu’s annexation plan in the interest of better relations between Israel and the Arab World.
UN took a position against Netanyahu’s Annexation Plan
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres had taken a strong position against Netanyahu’s Annexation Plan only this week, He called on Israel to abandon plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. He said such a move would be a “most serious violation of international law”.
The UN Secretary-General had made these comments in his report to the Security Council on Tuesday, a day before the 15-member body holds its twice-yearly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said it could begin the annexation process from July 1. As mentioned above, it was Netanyahu’s election pledge (during the 9 April 2020 Elections)
But now the United Nations top establishment has suddenly become defensive after the release of this video that apparently looks like a sex act in an official U.N. car in Israel. Video as describe above has gone viral.
The United Nations spokesman says it is “shocked and deeply disturbed” by footage of an apparent sex act in one of its official cars in Israel. There are, as yet, no details about this incident except the video. Who was in the car, who was the woman in a red shirt and which UN official, if any was busy in the inappropriate acts with the woman is not clear. Israeli police, till last news, had not registered a formal investigation.
The incident took place in Israel’s capital
The video, shared widely on social media, was apparently filmed on the main street by Tel Aviv’s seafront. The UN said it was investigating the incident and was close to identifying the individuals seen in the video.
Those involved are believed to be staff members of a peacekeeping organisation in Israel, the UN said. Another passenger can be seen slumped in the front, but the driver can’t be seen as the car moves away.
Inner City Press, who released the video, is an outlet that has reported and shined a light on corruption at the world body for years and was banned from reporting on U.N. grounds in New York in 2018, reports that the vehicle was part of a U.N. Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) mission in Tel Aviv, Israel.
UN embarrassed and on the defensive
The United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) was set up in 1948 to monitor ceasefires in the region. According to its website, observers “remain in the Middle East to monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating and assist other United Nations peacekeeping operations in the region.”
A spokesman for UN 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 UN Staff.”
Stephane Dujarric, his spokesman, said that an investigation has been activated and is moving “very quickly.” He said that they know the location of the incident, that it was a UNTSO vehicle and that it is likely that the people in the video are UNTSO staff members.
The spokesman for the UN’s Secretary General also said that António Guterres described the behaviour seen in the 18-second video as “abhorrent”.
United Nations "shocked and deeply disturbed" by footage of apparent sex act in one of its official cars in Israel https://t.co/IqAU93KSee
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 26, 2020
“We expect the process to be concluded very quickly and intend to take prompt appropriate action,” he said
Police in Tel Aviv say that so far a complaint has not been filed on the matter.
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 has strict policies against sexual misconduct by its staff members. Staff may be disciplined if they are found to be in breach of conduct rules. They may be repatriated or banned from UN peacekeeping operations, but it is the responsibility of their home nation to take further disciplinary or legal action.
The UN has long been under scrutiny over allegations of sexual misconduct by its peacekeepers and other staff. There have been frequent allegations in recent year. According to the BBC, there were 175 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation in 2019, 16 of which were substantiated, 15 unsubstantiated and the rest being investigated. However, this still does not fully satisfy the sudden emergence of his video at a time when the UN had taken a position against Netanyahu’s Annexation Plan.