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Double Standard? Syria Death Toll 100 Times Higher Than Gaza

Outgoing UN rights chief slams her org. for 'paralysis' on Syria as death toll edges towards 200,000; Ban warns UN losing credibility.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 8/22/2014, 1:56 PM

UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay
UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay
Reuters

Outgoing UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay on Thursday condemned the UN Security Council for failing in Syria, as a UN report indicated the death toll there has reached over 191,369 people, spurred by horrific war crimes.

"I firmly believe that greater responsiveness by this council would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives," Pillay told the council in the final briefing of her six-year term, reports Reuters. She will be replaced by Jordan's Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein.

Through April just shy of 200,000 people have been killed in Syria's four-year bloody conflict, according to a UN report released Friday by Pillay's office. That figure is more than double the death toll of a year ago, and likely still falls short of the actual toll according to Pillay, as an extra 51,953 killings were left out due to insufficient data.

Syria's civil war has "dropped off the international radar," lamented Pillay, noting "the killers, destroyers and torturers in Syria have been empowered and emboldened by the international paralysis."

Ironically the UN has been very not paralyzed when it comes to Israel's defensive Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, now in its sixth week, despite that Hamas claimed Monday the death toll there is just over 2,000 - a full 100 times less than the Syrian casualty count.

In fact, 2,000 Syrians, the same number as those killed in Gaza, were killed in the first five months of 2014 by indiscriminate "barrel bombings" on Aleppo, in which cheaply improvised explosives were randomly tossed on civilian centers by the Syrian army.

The UN has been very unconcerned about accuracy in the Gaza death toll, although Israeli reports show that despite Hamas's manipulation of figures and inflation of civilian counts, there is a roughly 1:1 death toll of combatants to civilians, which would be an almost unprecedented achievement in urban warfare. 

Nevertheless, Pillay has herself led the charge against Israel, even slamming the Jewish state for not sharing its anti-missile Iron Dome technology with the terrorist organization peppering its civilians with rockets.

Already European nations are pushing for a UN Security Council resolution to stop the fighting in Gaza, and force Israel back into peace talks on the basis of the 1949 Armistice lines.

Likewise, UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has tasked an investigative committee to look into "war crimes" allegations against Israel, headed by anti-Israel Canadian law Professor William Schabas who last Wednesday admitted the UN has "double standards" against Israel.

UN "losing credibility"

Speaking on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon claimed that his organization could have an "important" impact if it had full support from the Security Council.

"However, when there is limited consensus - when our actions come late and address only the lowest common denominator - the consequences can be measured in terrible loss of life, grave human suffering and tremendous loss of credibility for this council and our institution," Ban complained.

The question of credibility has indeed been raised recently, after rockets were found in at least three UN schools in Gaza and promptly returned to Hamas terrorists.

A UN clinic was also found to have been booby-trapped in an explosion that killed three IDF soldiers and wounded seven others. The clinic was located on top of several terror tunnels as well, showing the active participation between UN workers and terrorists.

The UN's actions have led Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor to quip recently "to establish an investigative committee headed by Schabas is like inviting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) to arrange the religious tolerance week at the UN."

Nobel laureate Professor Yisrael (Robert) Aumann added that the UNHRC probe against Israel was a simple manifestation of anti-Semitism.