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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘United Nations Human Rights Council’

The Schabes Report Had ‘Biased Mandate’ and ‘Unreliable Sources’

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Israeli officials continue to analyze The Schabes Report sparked by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and authored by the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict.” Most have noted the striking anti-Israel bias in the report.

“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,” said a statement from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in response.

“This report was commissioned by a notoriously biased institution, given an obviously biased mandate, and initially headed by a grossly biased chairperson, William Schabas.”

Schabas, a Canadian professor of international law, was found to have been a past legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a clear conflict of interest that he tried to conceal from the United Nations, according to the Foreign Ministry. Israel revealed the history, forcing Schabas to resign in February 2015.

“The Commission of Inquiry … lacked the necessary tools and expertise to conduct a professional and serious examination of armed conflict situations,” the ministry added.

The human rights watchdog agency NGO Monitor noted in a separate statement that the report was an “improvement” over its UN investigation-generated predecessors, including the 2009 Goldstone Report.

However, “it still quotes extensively from biased and unreliable political advocacy NGOs,” noted the agency.

“The UNHRC report would be entirely different without the baseless and unverifiable allegations of non-governmental organizations,” said Anne Herzberg, Legal Advisor at NGO Monitor.

“Despite efforts to consult a wider array of sources, the report produced by McGowan Davis and her team lacks credibility as a result of NGO influence.”

NGO Monitor’s initial review of the Commission of Inquiry’s “detailed findings” showed that NGOs were referenced, cited, and quoted at a high volume: B’Tselem was the most referenced NGO with 69 citations, followed by Amnesty International (53), Palestinian Center for Human Rights (50), and Al Mezan (29). UNWRA and UN-OCHA were also featured throughout the report.

NGOs were also sourced for factual claims beyond their capabilities: in one instance, the report repeated B’Tselem’s conclusions about whether individuals in Gaza “posed [] danger to other persons.”

Human Rights Watch, as opposed to a military expert, was quoted with regards to the “lethal radius for a 155mm high explosive projectile.”

Breaking the Silence was cited as the basis for the accusation that the IDF adopted “the vast scale of destruction…as a tactic of war.”

The lack of military expertise in the Commission and the UN staff clearly hampered the investigation and the resulting publication,” continued Herzberg. “In particular, the COI makes numerous assertions about feasible precautions, identification of military objectives, military necessity, and standards applied by reasonable commanders.

“In at least four independent studies by military experts, including Richard Kemp, the former head of British forces in Afghanistan, former senior U.S. generals and the former senior military officer for NATO all concluded that not only did Israel exceed the requirements of international law in the Gaza Conflict, but that its precautionary efforts to protect civilians were unprecedented in the history of warfare.”

NGO Monitor and UN Watch have prepared an independent, fully sourced and detailed book on the 2014 Israel-Hamas conflict, called “Filling in the Blanks, which provides an alternative narrative to The Schabes Report. The book is available to readers for download in PDF format by clicking here.

Netanyahu Notes UNHRC’s ‘Singular Obsession With Israel’ in The Schabes Report

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Netanyahu Notes UNHRC ‘Singular Obsession With Israel’

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu noted Monday in a statement to media that once again, a United Nations “independent commission” tasked with investigating a conflict between Israel and Palestinian Authority terrorists has produced a biased report.

Speaking to reporters about The Schabes Report released Monday afternoon (June 22, 2015) by the Independent Commission of Inquiry, Netanyahu pointed out, “Israel is a democracy committed to the rule of law.

“Time and again it is forced to defend itself against Palestinian terrorists who commit a double war crime: They deliberately target civilians while deliberately hiding behind Palestinian civilians. The Palestinians civilians they use as human shields include children, and they deliberately target our civilians while deliberately putting their civilians in harm’s way.”

The report did not mention the term “human shields” even once in its 34-page advance executive summary.

“In defending itself against such attacks, Israel’s military acted, and acts, according to the highest international standards,” Netanyahu said. During the conflict, the IDF dropped countless leaflets written in Arabic over areas marked for battle due to the numerous military targets within: each time, the leaflets warned residents to evacuate the area due to an impending battle. The flyers were followed up with automated phone calls to house phone lines and text messages to cell phones, in Arabic. Yet the Commission nevertheless insisted the IDF did not take enough measures to ensure Gaza’s civilian survival.

“The report in hand was commissioned by a notoriously biased institution; it was given an obviously biased mandate; it was initially headed by a grossly biased chairperson who received money from the Palestinians and was forced to resign.”

The Commission chairperson, Professor William Schabes, was found to have been a former legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization – a clear conflict of interest. When this information was made public by Israel, Schabes had no other recourse but to resign his post, which he did in February 2015, just one month prior to the completion of the probe.

“The United Nations Human Rights Council has a singular obsession with Israel,” Netanyahu observed. “It has passed more resolutions against Israel than against Syria, North Korea and Iran combined. In fact, it has passed more resolutions against Israel that against all the countries of the world combined.

“So, Israel treats this report as flawed and biased, and it urges all fair-minded observers to do the same.

“Such fair-minded observers recently investigated Israel’s conduct in the Gaza campaign. They include senior generals from the United States and NATO countries. They found that not only did Israel uphold the highest standards of international law, in the laws of armed conflict, they said that Israel exceeded the highest standards.

“Israel will continue to uphold its commitment to the laws of armed conflict despite the brutal tactics of its enemies,” Netanyahu continued, “and it will continue to investigate any allegations of wrongdoing in accordance with highest international standards.”

Iran ‘Alarmed by Hatred’ – Elsewhere

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

If it were a movie, it would be hilarious, but it is real and tragedy. One could find the positive side and say that the U.N. Human Rights Council provides volumes of evidence for historians to record for future generations that twisted minds did not die with Hitler.

Here are a few choice comments made at the so-called Human Rights Council Monday:

Saudi Arabia: My country, we are based on Islamic Sharia, which upholds human rights.

Venezuela: My country is a model of political tolerance….All people may express their opinions and criticisms freely.

Iran: We are alarmed by horrendous acts of religious and racial hatred in different parts of the world, in particular in Western societies.

The U.N. Human Rights Council keeps most of its workers employed by their spreading blood libels against Israel. CAMERA pointed out that on the same day that the Council heard the above comments, provided by a Twitter follower, Saudi Arabia “recorded its 100th beheading two weeks shy of the mid-year.”

It added:

Apparently, the Saudis are on a record pace. The majority of those decapitated are said to be murderers and drug offenders, however, apostasy is also listed as a capital offense. The executions are usually carried out in public.

The Council’s obsession with Israel has been so widely-document that perhaps, just perhaps, it is beginning to repent.

The United Nations reported Monday on remarks made by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the 29th session of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council:

[Syria is] the ‘most mind-numbing humanitarian crisis of our era’….

In addition to the situation in neighboring Iraq, where the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) continues to perpetrate the most ‘despicable abuses,’ Zeid talked about Libya, where armed groups continue to engage in violent clashes using heavy weaponry, and indiscriminate shelling of residential neighborhoods.

Zeid then ticked off countries where attention should be paid to human rights: Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, Mali, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Burundi, Russia, South Sudan, and Venezuela.

Note that Iran and Saudi Arabia were not specifically mentioned, but that is not the end of the list.

The U.N. report did not conclude without stating, “He also expressed concern about the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

He meant the Palestinian Authority, right?

UN Watch Condemns Saudi Bid to Head UN Human Rights Council

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

The fundamentalist Saudi monarchy is seeking to head the world’s top human rights body, a move liable to be “the final nail in the coffin for the credibility of a body that already counts dictatorships like China, Cuba, and Russia as members, and whose top advisor is co-founder of the Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights group.

“We urge U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and EU foreign minister Federica Mogherini to denounce this despicable act of cynicism by a regime that beheads people in the town square, systematically oppresses women, Christians, and gays, and jails innocent bloggers like Raif Badawi for the crime of challenging the rulers’ radical brand of Wahabbist Islam.”

UN Watch has learned from diplomatic sources that Saudi Arabia, an elected member of the 47-nation Human Rights Council, is actively lobbying the Asian group to be elected as president for 2016. The story was recently confirmed by the Tribune de Genève. Germany currently holds the presidency, a one-year term that rotates among the five regional groups.

“Electing Saudi Arabia as the world’s judge on human rights would be like making a pyromaniac the town fire chief,” said Neuer.

The council has already been heavily criticized by rights activists for turning a blind eye toward the world’s worst abusers. In its 9-year history, for example, there has not been a single resolution, urgent session or investigation of gross abuses by China, Russia, Cuba, Pakistan, or Venezuela.

U.S. & EU Bear Blame for Failing to Oppose Saudi Election as UNHRC Member

The U.S. and the European Union failed to oppose Saudi Arabia’s election to the council in 2013, said Neuer. “We urged them to oppose the election of Saudi Arabia, yet Washington and Brussels did nothing; now they must take responsibility and at least stop the Saudi from seizing the presidency,” he added.

“It’s time for the politics of oil to stop trumping the basic principles of human rights.”

US Absence at UN Human Rights Council Debate – Planned With Israel

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

The Reuters news agency reported the absence of the United States at a scheduled United Nations Human Rights Council debate came as part of President Barack Obama’s “reassessment” of Israel at the international forum. The report, which flashed around the world on the news agency’s international wire network, made headlines in Middle Eastern and other nations whose time zones are six or more hours ahead of the U.S.

However, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, the report is patently false.

In fact, the absence of the United States from the forum was indeed a deliberate act indeed, but one coordinated in advance with Israel to protest Agenda Item 7. Israel had asked its friends in the Council not to appear during debate of the Agenda Item, in order to boycott the issue.

A U.S. spokesperson in Geneva confirmed the reason for the delegate’s absence to Israeli officials, who reassured inquiring media.

Both the U.S. and Israel were boycotting the debate, which focusedon ‘Israeli violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories.’

The UNHRC has passed a mandate to use Agenda Item 7 at every session to debate this specific topic.

For hours, Middle Eastern Arab and African nations ranted on the Israeli violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories. Algeria even accused Israel of genocide.

Although the members of the European Union attended the session, the EU delegates did take the floor to defend Israel during the Agenda Item 7 debate, insisting it should be treated as other nations, and its violations discussed under Agenda Item 4.

Not one other country is deliberately singled out for mandated censure at each and every session of the UN Human Rights Council – including Saudi Arabia, which still allows slavery and beheads criminals, nor Iran, which indulges in public whippings and hangings, nor Sudan, where torture is commonplace, and the list goes on.

In a speech to the Council in Geneva at the start of this month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accused the UNHRC of obsessions with claims of Israeli violations.

“We will oppose any effort by any group or participant in the UN system to arbitrarily and regularly delegitimize or isolate Israel, not just at the UN Human Rights Council, but wherever it occurs,” Kerry vowed.

“It must be said that the UNHRC’s obsession with Israel actually risks undermining the credibility of the entire organization. It has the potential to limit the good that we have to do,” he added.

Kerry’s well-intended promise may have been forgotten, at least in the White House, however: President Barack Obama is doing everything possible to yank the rug out from under Jerusalem, using rhetoric by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his election campaign as the excuse to claim a lack of commitment to peace by Israel.

“We take him at his word when he said [creation of a Palestinian state] wouldn’t happen during his prime ministership, and so that’s why we’ve got to evaluate what other options are available to make sure that we don’t see a chaotic situation in the region,” Obama told The Huffington Post last Friday.

Gone were the assurances Obama himself made in a speech to AIPAC during his own political campaign for president in 2008. That was when he vowed to commit, as president of the United States, to “help committed (peace) partners avoid stalemate and the kind of vacuums that are filled by violence.” Any agreement with the Palestinian people, he said, “must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided,” he promised.

Report: Israel to Join Europe Group at UN Human Rights Council

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Israel may join for the first time a regional group within the United Nations Human Rights Council as part of a deal to improve the U.N. body’s relations with the Jewish state.

The council’s Western European and Others Group (WEOG) is expected to announce that its member states have voted in favor of Israel’s admittance, The Times of Israel reported Friday.

The European states had agreed to welcome Israel into their midst in exchange for the Jewish state’s return to the council and its participation in its Universal Periodic Human Rights Review process.

Israel had left the council a year and a half ago to protest its alleged bias against it.

Since 2006, the council has passed 27 resolutions criticizing Israel and has convened 19 special sessions, six of which were about Israel. Regular sessions feature a permanent agenda item 7, “the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.”

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and several Western nations have criticized the council for singling Israel out for criticism.

“Though it’s not yet final, we are hopeful that Israel will very soon be admitted into the Human Rights Council’s Western group, putting an end to a longstanding act of discrimination whereby the Jewish state was the only nation to be excluded from a regional group,” said Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch, an NGO that monitors the United Nations.

Admission to the group would allow Israel to participate with all other U.N. member states in receiving regular briefings, and would enable it to have a say in the selection of council investigators, Neuer said. “More than anything, admission for Israel would be a sign of equal treatment, removing what has been an ugly stain of bigotry upon the reputation of the U.N.”

However, he added, “it will not detract from the Arab states’ continued ability to target Israel in resolutions, urgent sessions and a special agenda item.”

Earlier this month, senior diplomats from the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, Germany and France sent a letter to the U.N.’s institutions in Geneva and to the ambassador of Spain, who heads the WEOG, telling them to finally admit Israel into their circle.

On Oct. 29, Israel participated in the council’s so-called Universal Periodic Review, during which it was widely criticized for alleged human rights abuses.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-israel-to-join-europe-group-at-un-human-rights-council/2013/12/01/

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