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February 10, 2016 / 1 Adar I, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘investigation’

The Slippery Slope of the Duma Case

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

Eight months ago, when I was in court for the trial of one of my clients, I ran into the murderer of the late Shalom Sharki, who was all smiles, conferring with his attorney. It was very shortly after the murder, and when I asked police why they were so quick to allow the meeting between the terrorist and his lawyer—who advised him to claim that he committed the crime was by accident—the police responded, “What can you do, we live in a democracy.”

I recalled that event in recent days, while running from one judge to another, demanding to meet with my client, a young man who had been kept in the Shabak’s cellars for many days—and who, according to his wife, was injured during his arrest. The courts cooperated with the Shabak, extending my client’s detention and, time and again, imposing the ban on letting him meet an attorney. No one mentioned the word Democracy.

Each week when we deal with Arab terrorism and the conflict of security needs versus civil rights, we inevitably hear the media, human rights organizations and “sensitive” politicians protesting that a youth who chased Jews with a knife didn’t get a decent meal; or demand that a policeman who made a racist remark while guarding a terrorist be prosecuted, and if he isn’t, they demand to know why.

The same standards aren’t being applied in the Duma investigation.

Over the past weeks we have not heard even one politician crying out in protest against the violations of the suspects’ human rights, and no right wing organization, other than the legal aid society Honenu, has gone public with a demand to stop the abuse.

Despite the fact that investigation of the arson in Duma is important, I believe the interrogators have crossed boundaries and red lines. Unfortunately, I can’t expand on this issue because of the gag order imposed on the case—in the future we will reveal the truth about these dark days for civil rights in Israel.

The problem is not only the severe harm to the detainees’ civil rights, but most importantly it is the fact that any such interrogations are contrary to the purpose of finding the truth, and may cause a terrible miscarriage of justice. When interrogators abuse, threaten and harass a suspect—all for the sake of forcing him to admit his guilt—it is possible that an innocent person would confess to crimes he did not commit. Such things have happened.

In dozens of decisions on Arab terrorist cases, former Chief Justice Aharon Barak ruled that while investigations of security issues are important, at the same time there is a duty to set limits the actions of Shabak interrogators: “This is the plight of a democracy, that not all the means are acceptable in it, and not all the practices which are employed by its enemies are available to it. A democracy must sometimes fight with one hand tied behind its back,” Barak stressed. But regarding the hilltop youths, it appears that those statements of the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court have been forgotten by today’s Israeli judges.

Another problem, perhaps the central one here, concerns the conduct of our own camp: rabbis, municipal heads and public leaders in the settlements do not go out of their way to help the incarcerated hilltop youths.

It’s easy to understand the settlement leaders’ behavior: why should they go out of their way to help those kids who often come across as insolent, anti-Zionist and rebellious.

But such a view is fundamentally mistaken. Even those who disagree with the hilltop youths, should learn from our experience that the persecution of the hilltop youths will then continue on to the physical abuse of settlers in Amona and Efrat, and eventually reach even to the “good children” of Givat Shmuel and Ra’anana; the abuse of a 16-year-old boy with giant side curls will soon spread to impact the settlement’s rabbi and the settlement’s security chief, and so on.

This slippery slope is visible before our eyes: the Jewish Department of the Shabak, the police nationalistic crime unit in the Judea and Samaria district, and elements in the prosecutor’s office see the hilltop youths as “the enemy, terrorists, attackers,” the way Shabak agents have put it. If the hilltop youths are the enemy, then their parents from the previous generation of settlers are “parents of terrorists,” their neighbors from the community are “supporters of terrorism” (“If you give them water, it means you support terrorism” goes the Shabak’s rationale), and we’ll all soon discover that the boundary line between terrorists and supporters of terrorism is very thin.

Make no mistake about it: despite the fact that the heads of major security forces—Roni Alsheikh, Yoram Cohen and Yossi Cohen—are observant Jews, or perhaps because of it, many in their organizations view all settlers as the enemy.

UN Panel to Probe UNIFIL Soldier’s Death in Lebanon

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Another United Nations investigation is about to probe Israel’s involvement in a death among Arab attackers … uh, that is … the panel will probe the death of a UNIFIL soldier in Lebanon while Hezbollah was attacking Israel.

This will be the second such “independent” panel investigating Israel’s role in defending itself from attacks initiated against its citizens.

Currently the UN Human Rights Council is continuing its efforts to “investigate” claims that Israel Defense Forces committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in Gaza during the counter terror war to silence the incessant rocket fire being fired against Israeli civilians in the south.

Professor William Schabas was replaced this week with Mary McGowan Davis, a member of the team that produced the notorious Goldstone Report, after resigning his role as leader of the anti-Israel probe of Israel’s counter terror war against Gaza’s ruling Hamas group and allied terrorists. Although Schabas was known to have an open bias against Israel, it was still a surprise to many when he revealed in his resignation letter that he had actually worked as a consultant for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the past.

The “independent panel” to be appointed by the UN is specifically tasked with investigating the death of a soldier from Spain, a member of the UNIFIL contingent operating in southern Lebanon since November 2014.

Spain last week said it was Israeli artillery that was responsible for the death of its soldier, which took place during an exchange of gunfire that followed an attack launched by Hezbollah on an unprotected convoy traveling near the northern border in Israel.

The terrorists fired six Kornet anti-tank missiles at two unarmored jeeps and two civilian vehicles on Israel’s side of the border. The two army jeeps were incinerated instantly. Two soldiers died and seven others were wounded. One of the missiles went astray and struck a civilian home in the border town of Ghajar, destroying it as well.

UNIFIL was tasked with monitoring the ceasefire that ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah and seeing to it that the terrorists did not receive any more arms, among other assignments. It has failed miserably at its assignment, perhaps deliberately. After all, it is easier to deal with disappointed Israelis than to face a deadly threat from Iran and Hezbollah terrorists.

Hezbollah thus now boasts of an arsenal of more than 100,00 lethal rockets and missiles of varying ranges which it has received from Syria and Iran, an array of ordnance any modern army could admire.

As a result, Hezbollah has a free hand in Lebanon. Last week the terror group launched its multi-prong attack on innocent northern Israeli civilians and soldiers traveling in a convoy; such attacks in the past have led to bitter wars. This one was clearly aimed at an attempt to kidnap at least one of the travelers if possible. What should Israel have done, if not defend its people and fire back at the source of missile fire?

When a UNIFIL soldier was hit in the crossfire after Hezbollah launched the attack, how does Israel become responsible for that death?

More to the point, what was a UNIFIL soldier doing in such close proximity to a Hezbollah position?

Methinks the lady doth protest too much….

Israel Okays Ban’s UN Commission on ‘UNRWA Incidents’

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

The Israeli government has decided to cooperate with a United Nations commission set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to investigate events this summer near facilities in Gaza owned by the UN Relief and Works Agency. The commission is to be headed by Patrick Cammaert, the former commander of the UN peacekeeping mission to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and a retired Dutch general.

Hamas has yet to confirm whether it will cooperate with the panel in its investigation.

International inspectors discovered during the war that missiles were being stored in at least three UNRWA buildings by local terrorists. In each case, the agency immediately “ordered them removed” but it was never made public where they went, or to whom they were sent. At least six UNRWA facilities were hit by mortar shells or other types of fire during Operation Protective Edge; but the IDF identified concealed rocket launchers around all of them and even within several of the buildings themselves.

Israel intends to share its intelligence materials with the commission established by the UN secretary-general, believing its composition to be more professional than that established by the UN Human Rights Council at the outset of the war.

UNHRC High Commission Navi Pillay announced the need for a board of inquiry in a statement of outrage at the start of the conflict, accusing Israel of committing “possible war crimes” and crimes “against humanity” in Gaza.

That three-member panel, which is led by anti-Israel Canadian law professor William Schabas, is to be boycotted by the Jewish State. It was intended solely to probe events that occurred after July 17 and has not defined Gaza’s ruling Hamas organization as a terrorist group, though it is classified as such by the United States as well as Israel.

Jerusalem District Police Commander Hands In Surprise Resignation

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Jerusalem District Police Commander Assistant Chief Yossi Pariente announced Sunday in an abrupt statement that he will step down at the end of his term.

A 30-year veteran of the force, Pariente was believed to be next in line to succeed Inspector-General Yochanan Danino as Chief of Police. The move comes as a surprise.

But Israel has seen two major police scandals this summer and months filled with riots, war and ongoing Arab violence. Not to mention the ongoing corruption trials of Israel’s former prime minister, and past corruption trials of the country’s former president and at least one lawmaker.

Pariente’s abrupt announcement followed a storm of international protest in response to a YouTube video that showed a police officer beating 15-year-old Tariq Khdeir of Tampa, FL.

The Arab-American citizen, who himself was involved in riots against police, is a cousin to 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir. The young Jerusalem Arab teen was kidnapped and murdered by Jewish gang members a day after searchers found the bodies of three Jewish teens murdered by Hamas terrorists buried in a field north of Hebron.

In addition, an autopsy report this month confirmed that Arab teen Muhammad Abd al-Majid Sunuqrut died after being shot in the head with a rubber bullet. The report vindicated the claims of Arab eyewitnesses who were rioting alongside the teen. The group was hurling rocks at police on August 31 in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz. But police had claimed the teen died after being shot in the leg and hitting his head after having tripped and fallen while fleeing.

Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch called Sunday’s resignation by Pariente a “strategic threat” to police deterrence.

“An external appointment is required to build a new corporate police culture,” Aharonovitch said in a brief statement following the resignation.

Pariente will remain at his post until a replacement is found.

He resigned just two weeks after a similar move by Central District commander Assistant Chief Bruno Stein, who was accused of guilt by association in a corruption case against well-known attorney Ronel Fisher.

Stein was “outed” in an article published by the Hebrew-language Ha’aretz newspaper which claimed he attended a private party at Fisher’s home while the attorney was under investigation for bribing several police officials.

Former NY Supreme Court Judge to Join UN Panel Probing Israel

Monday, August 25th, 2014

A member of the commission who carried out the follow-up to the United Nations Human Rights Commission’s Goldstone Report has been tapped to serve as the third member of the newest probe committee.

Former New York Supreme Court Judge Mary McGowan Davis is to take the place of British Lebanese attorney Amal Alamuddin, who declined the invitation to serve on the panel led by Canadian law professor William Schabas. The two will be joined by Doudou Diene.

The commission is intended to investigate whether the Israel Defense Forces were guilty of committing war crimes in countering terrorist activity this summer in Gaza, Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem; however, the panel is beginning its work without even acknowledging the basic definition of Hamas as a terrorist organization.

At present, Israel has decided not to cooperate with the panel in its investigation, based on past experience with probes that led to skewed conclusions based on false Gaza testimony and Israeli evidence omitted from reports.

Netanyahu: ‘UNHRC Legitimizes Hamas & ISIS; Nothing to Look For Here’

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Israel is not likely to cooperate with a “kangaroo court” style investigation under the auspices of a committee set up by the biased United Nations Human Rights Commission.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made that clear in his response to Canadian legal professor William Schabas, the head of the committee, who advised on Tuesday that it is in Israel’s “best interest” to cooperate with his investigation into Israel’s defense against Palestinian Arab terror — and particularly Hamas efforts to terrorize — Israeli citizens.

Netanyahu spoke with reporters in a news briefing following a meeting with New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who flew to Israel to show his solidarity with the Jewish State.

“New York has always had a special relationship with Israel,” Cuomo told reporters. “As Hamas and other terrorist organizations continue to threaten Israel, now is the time to deliver that message of solidarity in person.”

The prime minister, who was asked whether Israel will cooperate with the UNHRC investigation, had some advice of his own for the committee (video is in Hebrew).

“The UN Human Rights Council gives legitimacy to murderous terrorist organizations such as Hamas and ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria),” he said.

“Instead of inquiring into Hamas’s attacks on Israeli civilians and its use of the residents of Gaza as human shields, and instead of inquiring into the massacres that Assad is perpetrating against the Syrian people or that ISIS is perpetrating against the Kurds, the UN has decided to come and check Israel – the only democracy in the Middle East, a democracy which is acting legitimately to defend its citizens against murderous terrorism.

“The report of this committee has already been written,” he said.

“The committee chairman (Canadian law professor William Schabas) has already decided that Hamas is not a terrorist organization; therefore, they have nothing to look for here.

“They should visit Damascus, Baghdad and Tripoli; they should go see ISIS, the Syrian army and Hamas – there they will find war crimes,” Netanyahu advised.

“Not here.”

Anti-Israel UN Investigator Prof. William Schabas ‘Can’t Say’ If Hamas is Terrorist Entity

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

The man chosen to head the United Nations Human Rights Council’s latest probe into the war in Gaza won’t state clearly whether Hamas is a terror group. Moreoever, he says “some believe Israel ‘gets off easy’ at the UN Security Council.”

International Law Professor William Schabas, appointed to head the UNHRC probe into Operation Protective Edge, also claimed in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 television news anchor Danny Kushmaro Tuesday that past comments he has made on the record, accusing Israel’s government leaders of war crimes were “exaggerated.”

Schabas was questioned about his alleged bias against Israel, which has led the foreign ministry to advise the prime minister not to cooperate with the investigation.

The man selected to investigate Israel’s counter terror operation against Hamas and allied terrorists in Gaza, Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem this summer said a year ago that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would be his choice of a leader to send to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.

Israel’s Channel 2 television news anchor Danny Kushmaro began the interview with a polite, if not cordial tone.

“Good evening Professor Schabas. Shall we say congratulations?”

“Uh… perhaps,” Schabas answered carefully.

Kushmaro then went right for the jugular, asking the UN investigator about his suggestion that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would be his “favorite” world leader to be brought before the International Criminal Court at The Hague to face war crimes charges.

“Not President Assad of Syria, Not Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal – you said, ‘Netanyahu.’ Can you explain why?’ the interviewer asked pointedly.

Schabas looked uncomfortable.

“We were having a discussion about the International Criminal Court,” he said, “and the fact that the International Criminal Court had focused all of its attention on African countries. I had referred to a statement by Archbishop Tutu, where he had said, ‘Tony Blair should be brought before the International Criminal Court to show that it can deal with Western countries as well as with countries from the south, and particularly from Africa.

“And so I said, well, uh, my favorite would be Netanyahu. I was, of course, echoing what was in the Goldstone Report, which is that the International Criminal Court should deal with the conclusions of the Goldstone Report, concluding the possibility that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed during Operation Cast Lead.

“But as you know the International Criminal Court never did address those matters. So that was the context of my comment.”

Finance Minister Yair Lapid quickly pointed out in subsequent comments that the Goldstone Report was compiled during the administration of then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, not Netanyahu.

Schabas has also said he believes that former President Shimon Peres should stand trial before the Court as well.

The interviewer asked him whether he, as a professor of international law, would advise his own client to cooperate with “such an investigation” given what he had just heard.

“I think this is a great exaggeration of some of the statements. I expressed opinions about political leaders in the past. Is there a human being in Israel who’s never expressed political opinions about leaders in Israel? Once someone who sits in a commission or as a judge has to do is to put these things behind them, and start fresh, and this is of course what I intend to do.”

Kushmaro: Do you plan to investigate Hamas crimes as well? Are you really able to investigate a terror organization who threatens its own people?

Schabas: “I cannot tell you what the commission is going to do in terms of interpreting its mandate because I’m only one member and I haven’t had a meeting with the other commissioners. We will have to agree on the interpretation…

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/anti-israel-un-investigator-prof-william-schabas-cant-say-if-hamas-is-terrorist-entity/2014/08/13/

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