If one doubted that the world has gone topsy-turvy, where good is being persecuted and evil labeled as victim, all that is needed for proof is to consider the behavior and actions of the United Nations (UN), and especially the Human Rights Council (UNHRC), where non-democratic regimes hold sway, and Israel is the habitual scape-goat. What is over the top, however, is the UN decision to send an Inquiry Committee to investigate alleged “war crimes” committed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during the recent Protective Edge operation in Gaza.
Reuters reported (Monday, August 11, 2014) that the UN named experts to an international commission of inquiry into possible human rights violations and war crimes committed by both sides during Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip. The so-called “experts” include William Schabas, a Canadian professor of international law who will head the panel, and Doudou Diene, a Senegalese veteran UN human rights expert. Amal Alamuddin, a British-Lebanese lawyer engaged to be married to Hollywood actor George Clooney was also named, but Alamuddin has announced she will not be participating in the inquiry.
While the fighting in Gaza was ongoing and Hamas was firing rockets daily at civilians throughout Israel, the UNHRC had already condemned Israel. Its resolution was adopted by a vote of 29 states in favor, 1 against, and 17 abstentions. It stated that “The Council strongly condemns the failure of Israel, the occupying power, to end its prolonged occupation of occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem; and condemned in the strongest terms the widespread, systematic, and gross violation of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations carried out in the occupied Palestinian Territory since 13 June 2014 that may amount to international crimes, directly resulting in the killing of more than 650 Palestinians, most of them civilians…” Throughout the resolution Hamas’ name was not mentioned nor was it pointed out that Hamas provoked the conflict by deliberately firing rockets at Israel.
Even before the Israeli–Hamas ceasefire agreement went into effect, the UNHRC in Geneva rushed to set up a kangaroo court headed by the blatantly anti-Israel William Schabas. The same Schabas said last year that he “would like to see Netanyahu within the dock of the International Criminal Court.” Confronted by a reporter on his visceral hatred of Netanyahu, Schabas explained that he was echoing the Goldstone Report that related to Operation Cast Lead of 2008-2009, except that it was Ehud Olmert and not Netanyahu who served as Prime Minister then. When asked if he considered Hamas a terrorist organization and whether Hamas too, will be investigated, Schabas declined to respond.
Speaking before Israeli naval cadets on Tuesday (September 2, 2014), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at the UN hypocrisy. He stated that “All of you IDF soldiers are part of the most moral army in the world, and we will stand against any attempts of hypocritical organizations to criticize you. If the UN wants to set up a commission of inquiry – let them investigate Hamas’ war crimes instead of the Israeli soldiers who behaved in an exemplary manner.”
In the Israeli Knesset (Parliament), both the coalition and the opposition criticized the UN for dispatching a commission of inquiry to Gaza to investigate alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza. They were likewise critical of the appointed head of the commission William Schabas, whose biased statement against Israeli leaders made the commission nothing but a kangaroo court.
During the Protective Edge operation in Gaza last month, the IDF dropped leaflets in 14 areas in Gaza, urging residents to temporarily leave their homes. The IDF provided instructions as to which areas civilians may go to in order to seek safety. Juxtapose that with the Hamas’ behavior of deliberately risking the lives of its people by using them as human shields, which is in contravention of international law and constitutes a war crime.
British army Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan had this to say (July 27, 2014) about the IDF, “I believe that on the basis of everything that I've seen, that everything the IDF does to protect civilians and to stop the death of innocent civilians is a great deal more than any other army, and it's more than the British and the American armies.”
What is most disturbing about the UNHRC is the hypocrisy when it comes to Israel. The UNHRC Commission of Inquiry on Syria presented its findings on August 27, 2014. In it was a detailed human cost of the Syrian conflict. It charged that both the Assad regime and the opposition groups, and in particular the fanatical jihadist ISIS, were responsible for mass killings (170,000 at the minimum), civilian suffering and disregard for the safety of women and children. ISIS in particular committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, including torture, murder, enslavement of women, public executions, amputations, lashing in public squares, and training children as young as ten in military camps.
While the truth about ISIS committing war crimes and crimes against humanity have been largely revealed, those committed by Hamas (publicly executing 20 Palestinians for alleged collaboration with Israel) in Gaza have not, at least not by UNHRC. Professor Michael Curtis pointed out that Hamas’ relentless aggression against Israeli civilians was publically exposed on July 9, 2014 by Ibrahim Khraishi, the Palestinian representative to the UNHRC. Khraishi stated that “The rockets fired from Gaza toward Israel are each and every one a crime against humanity whether they hit or miss, because they are directed at civilian targets. That is why Israel resorted to an attack against Gaza.”
Hamas, with total disregard for its civilian population, stored rockets in hospitals, schools, and mosques, as well as in apartment buildings and private homes. It used the civilians at these locations as human shields, anticipating that an Israeli retaliation (following over 4000 rockets fired at Israel) would kill Palestinian civilians, particularly women and children. Hamas sacrificed its people in order to win the public relations war. Still, the international media by and large bought into Hamas’ charade. Hamas’ cynical exploitation of its civilian deaths, its use of human shields, and the deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity.
To understand the perversion that is the UNHRC, let us look at the UN as a whole. Of the 193 member states, 120 belong to the Non-Allied Movement (NAM) and of the 120, 57 are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which in turn is dominated by the 22 Arab League states. Arab/Muslim leverage has turned the UN into a blunt instrument against Israel. The 29 states who voted in favor of the blatantly prejudiced resolution are non-free states according to the Freedom House. The U.S. was the only state to vote against the resolution. The European Union states of Britain, France, Germany and Italy, all with a colonial past, and beset by guilt, abstained. They were fearful to upset the NAM.
The UNHRC is probably the best example of a world gone topsy-turvy. The non-free nations run the show at the UN while the free democracies cower before them. In the process, Israel, a country with a just cause, a praise worthy democracy in a sea of oppression, is being scapegoated and condemned. It is time for nations seeking justice and fairness to end this bizarre show called UNHRC, and reestablish a UNHRC based on nations with bona fide human rights credentials.
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