The UNHRC publishes its Schabas Charade

UN - Useless Nations

UN – Useless Nations

When William Schabas resigned from the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry into “Israel’s war crimes” (OK, that wasn’t the exact title of the commission of inquiry but it might as well have been, because that was their aim and that is the result of their prejudged judgement), we all breathed a sigh of relief, thinking that this biased anti-Israel “investigator” (who didn’t bother investigating Israel’s side of the story) was gone and forgotten.

Not so. The commission of inquiry in his name continued, and in the most unsurprising fashion has produced yet another anti-Israel screed for the discredited UN Human Rights Wrongs  Commission which will be presented to the UNHRC for discussion next week:

Both Israelis and Palestinians may have committed war crimes during the 2014 Gaza war, a United Nations Human Rights Council commission of inquiry said in a highly anticipated 200-page report it published in Geneva on Monday.

“The commission was able to gather substantial information pointing to serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by Israel and by Palestinian armed groups,” the report said.

“In some cases, these violations may amount to war crimes,” it said.

The report called for individual IDF soldiers, as well as top decision makers in Israel’s military and political echelons, to be held accountable if they violated international law.

With respect to extrajudicial executions of alleged “collaborators” by Palestinian armed groups, the report said such actions amount to a war crime.

The Palestinian Authority is expected to make use of this report when it submits a war crimes complaint against Israel to the International Criminal Court, possibly as early as this week.

The report called on both sides “to cooperate fully with the preliminary examination of the International Criminal Court and with any subsequent investigation that may be opened.”

I note the sly way in which the inquiry concludes that there may have been war crimes (by either side).  By using such vague terminology they have thrown enough mud to stick, while at the same time they can claim plausible deniability if at the end of it all one or other of the sides is found not guilty  – and you can probably bet your bottom dollar that Israel will be found guilty one way or another. As has been pointed out time and again, whenever Israel is in the dock, it’s “sentence first, verdict later”, in true Alice in Wonderland fashion.

It is also disgusting how Israel, a law-abiding robust democracy with minority rights and rule of law, is placed on an equal level with a murderous, misogynistic, antisemitic terror organization.

Israel’s initial reaction, from the Foreign Ministry, called the inquiry one-sided and politically-motivated.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmuel Nachshon responded Monday to the UNHRC report on the 2014 Gaza conflict, saying, “It is well known that the entire process that led to the production of this report was politically motivated and morally flawed from the outset. Just as Israel  seriously considered every complaint, no matter its origin.”

“It is regrettable that the report fails to recognize the profound difference between Israel’s moral behavior during Operation Protective Edge  and the terror organizations it confronted,” he said.

(Edited to add): Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu similar stated on his Facebook page:

Honest Reporting has a great deal of information about the report including these tweets:

This ABC report notes Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the inquiry but also mentions the UN’s casual dismissal of Israel’s attempts to preserve enemy life:

Although Israel refused to cooperate with the investigation, the report noted Israeli claims that it took unprecedented measures to avoid civilian casualties. Israel ordered residents to evacuate through leaflets, phone calls, radio broadcasts and warning strikes with unarmed shells ahead of live airstrikes. It has also noted that Hamas repeatedly rejected cease-fire offers, prolonging the fighting and raising the death toll.

But the U.N. commission said that in many incidents, Israel “may not have done everything feasible to avoid or limit civilian casualties.”

The report also investigated three Israeli ground operations, and found that Israel used heavy weapons like artillery and tank shells in densely populated areas, tactics that “may not be in conformity with international humanitarian law.”

As I mentioned last week, a team of international military experts who investigated the Gaza war concluded that Israel not only had not committed any war crimes, but had gone way beyond the call of duty in protecting enemy civilians.

The indefatigable UN Watch has undertaken its own investigation of the UN’s methods of inquiry and informs us thus:

The formal debate will take place on Monday, June 29th, but no one knows precisely when the much-discussed report of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict will be made available online.

Ahead of its release, three significant competing documents have just been published, posing a serious challenge to the UN commission, whose members lack any background or expertise on the laws or conduct of war:

The Israeli foreign ministry released a277-page report that details with photo and other evidence how Hamas used schools, hospitals and UN facilities as launching points from which to fire rockets at Israel, turning their own population into human shields and targets.

• A mission by global military leaders has found that Israel went out of its way to minimize civilian casualties and observe international law during last summer’s crackdown in Gaza, even to the point of costing the lives of its own soldiers. The preliminary findings by the international military experts, publicized by UN Watch on Friday, had been submitted in May to the UN inquiry.

• UN Watch and NGO Monitor have just published a new book that documents missing dimensions in UN and other partisan investigations of the Gaza conflict. Written by a group of experts, the book reveals how rockets and missiles are produced and imported by Gaza terrorist organizations, the financing of Hamas in violation of international law, and Hamas’ abuse of international humanitarian aid.

Honest Reporting has also told us to beware of 3 important media angles in regards to the Schabas Commission:

1. The Halo Effect

The halo effect refers to the ability of our impression of people, institutions, or brands to influence our feelings and thoughts about their character. This applies to reporters too, who report what they hear from respectable personalities, government officials, or international organizations without question or independent verification. Will reporters paint the UNHRC and its investigators as apolitical and unbiased?

2. Disproportionate Force

More Palestinians died during the war than Israelis, a point reinforced by a steady stream of context-free daily infographics. But does that mean the IDF fought disproportionately?

Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, explained in an interview what proportionality means on the battlefield, why people are misled by the abused term and draw faulty conclusions about it:

Many do not understand it is not illegal to kill civilians in war as long as that is not the purpose of your actions, hence the appalling term “collateral damage”.

And as retired Australian Major-General Jim Molan pointed out in The Australian (click via Google News):

Many do not understand it is not illegal to kill civilians in war as long as that is not the purpose of your actions, hence the appalling term “collateral damage”.

3. Moral Equivalence

Hamas and Israel fought a war with each other. Both sides had domestic and international audiences to account for, both sides had spokespeople making their cases in the media, and both sides had dead to bury and wounds to lick. But that’s where superficial parallels end.

The war began with the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, escalated under barrages of rockets, and continued despite repeated cease fire offers to Hamas.

The IDF fought to protect Israeli citizens while Hamas fought to make martyrs of Palestinian citizens. Hamas placed its rocket launchers, weapons dumps, sniper nests, tunnel entrances, and command centers in and around schools, hospitals, mosques and UN facilities, while the IDF warned civilians ahead of attacks, called off airstrikes due to the presence of women and children, setting what some experts in the laws of warfare said are “an unreasonable precedent for other democratic countries” in wartime.

One year after Operation Protective Edge, Israel released its official report on the war. There are no signs of any parallel Palestinian inquiry.

There’s no equivalence between Israel and Hamas.

Unfortunately, those who want to besmirch Israel and blacken its name, and who wish to see it undermined and even destroyed by demonization and delegitimization, will disregard all the above protests, caveats, reports, and even expert opinion.

They don’t want to be confused with facts. Leave them alone with their prejudices.

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5 Responses to The UNHRC publishes its Schabas Charade

  1. Reality says:

    As you say,Israel has been tried,judged &found guilty.They needn’t have bothered with the farce of “investigating” &writing the repots.What a waste of time,money and paper! They could’ve used all that effort in saving Syrian lives, or rebuilt Gaza!

    • anneinpt says:

      Ah, but that defeats the purpose doesn’t it? They don’t want to rebuild Gaza and aren’t interested in saving Syrian lives because Jews aren’t involved. The UNHRC and most of the UN itself is only interested in blackening Israel’s name, and basically trying to undo their mistake of recognizing Israeli independence in 1948.

  2. Brian Goldfarb says:

    “…trying to undo their mistake of recognizing Israeli independence in 1948.” Two chances: fat and none (very English word-play).

    The genie is well and truly out of the bottle on this one, and no way is it going to be tempted back into it. In fact, I suspect (sadly) that those who truly wish for Israel’s demise had better be extremely careful of what they wish for. The consequences of them achieving their wish could be even more disastrous for them than for their intended victim.

    The Times of Israel has this interesting article, which says that the next time (and, sadly, there will be a next time), the investigating committee should have a high ranking army officer or officers (Generals and above only, please) as members, and only those with actual experience of leading armies fighting among civilians. Further (my gloss), they should, if necessary either write the wretched report or publish their’s alongside the other one.

    • anneinpt says:

      Brian, of course I agree that there is no chance that the UN can undo Israeli independence. What I was trying to say is that the UN, or its undemocratic tyrannical dictatorships are trying to bring Israel back to its pre-1947 situation, from where it can be easily destroyed. So if warfare doesn’t work, they think maybe lawfare will.

      And I don’t think they care for the consequences. Most often, Jew-hatred (for that’s what all this anti-Israel activity is in essence) blinds people to reason.

      That Times of Israel article is very interesting. Unfortunately it is preaching on the one hand to the converted (Israel and its supporters), and on the other hand to the deaf. The UN would have had no problem consulting with generals before it issued that ridiculous report. A very large panel of international military experts investigated Israel’s conduct in the Gaza War and they issued a report just last week both exonerating Israel and chiding it for having gone too far to protect the enemy!. Israel’s Foreign Ministry also issued its own report of the government’s investigations.

      The information is out there for those who wish to see it. The trouble is that the UN doesn’t want to be confused with facts.

  3. Pingback: Non-surprise of the week: UN HRC condemns Israel despite military experts defence of the IDF | Anne's Opinions

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