Israel is over-reaching.
And in the cold light of retrospect, the battle with the UN will appear as another aspect of Israel's over-reach.
Of course, Israel detests the United Nations. Of course, they want to hit the civilian infrastructure that UNRWA supplies, because that infrastructure is keeping Palestinians alive. Of course they want to punish and discipline the UN, which continues to put out information that is profoundly unhelpful to Israel's propaganda war. Of course, in this conflict, Israel considers the UN an enemy agent. And of course, Israel's allies in the anglophone hard right will do their best to represent the UN as some sort of radical left, Third Worldist, antisemitic hybrid run by a bunch of brown-skinned people trying to destroy the Jewish state.
But still. Israeli officials surely don't believe that much of their own bullshit. They know the UN's record. They know that Ban Ki Moon is not an ally of the wretched of the earth. They know the UN's role in Iraq, Haiti, Somalia, and so on. They know that, however inconvenient the resolutions, the UN is not a threat to them. So, to absurdly accuse the UN of transporting Hamas rockets, to bomb its schools and refugee centres, to terrorise and thus openly court the enmity of a global institution with some resources and standing, seems kind of stupid.
In recent days, it is UN spokespersons - not politicians from the dominant states - that have issued the most damning denunciations of Israeli actions, clearly stating that their attacks on civilian facilities are "not accidental"
, and referring to them as war crimes
. The UN is actually mounting a publicity campaign over this, with the evident aim of bringing pressure to stop what Israel is doing.
One has to wonder, given that this is happening, and that it's basically accepted as a reasonable cost of war within the Israeli political class, about the political culture at the peak of the Israeli state. I think, to be frank - and this deserves a separate post - that we are seeing a manifestation of the messianic and auto-radicalising aspects of Zionism at work here. The more it expands, the more it needs to expand; the more military power it hoards, the more it feels threatened; the more it grinds Palestinian faces into the dirt, the more it feels victimised by Palestinians. More anon.