United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon flew to Cairo on a Qatari-chartered plane, Newsweek reported Monday.
Accepting the flight from Qatar, which sponsors the terrorist organization Hamas, puts Ban in a compromised position. Newsweek notes that when he condemned the Israeli efforts to defend itself from Hamas rockets on Sunday, it marked “the first time in two weeks that Ban did not mention rocket or other attacks against Israelis.”
Aside from coloring Ban’s statements, his coziness with Qatar also threatens his ability to arrange a long-term ceasefire that would effectively restrain Hamas.
Ban’s choice of Qatar as the first Middle East capital on his trip has raised eyebrows in the region. Egypt, in particular, has bitterly criticized what Cairo’s foreign minister, Sameh Shukri, has called Qatar’s “conspiring” — along with Hamas and its other regional ally, Turkey — against Egyptian attempts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
The US has made clear in recent days it sees Egypt as the only viable mediator, and toward that end Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Cairo Monday. Dujarric said that Ban, too, supports Egypt’s attempts to arrange the negotiations. “Obviously, I think the focus here is on supporting Egypt’s leadership in mediating a durable ceasefire,” he said. “No one is questioning Egypt’s leadership in this effort.”
Ban’s acceptance of the flight is one more in a series of scandals that calls into question the UN’s neutrality in the conflict between Israel and the Gaza-based terror organization. Last week it was reported that the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) handed over twenty missiles it found near one of its schools back to Hamas. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness has a record of anti-Israel activism that prompted Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, to demand his suspension.