Members of the Civil Defence rescue children after what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in al-Shaar neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria June 2, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid on Tuesday evoked the memory of his Holocaust survivor father, Tommy Lapid, in slamming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for directing Israel’s delegation at the UN to stay away from a vote establishing a mechanism to investigate war crimes in Syria.
“If he could have heard that we were quiet at this moment, he would not have forgiven us,” wrote Lapid of his father, a former justice minister and media personality who died in 2008.
Lapid’s comments were written in a post on his Facebook page.
Lapid wrote that his father would have screamed out Tuesday morning when he read a report in Yediot Aharonot that Netanyahu overruled the advice of the Foreign Ministry and gave instructions that Israel not partake in the vote.
“We were absent in order to ingratiate ourselves with the Russians, two minutes before they screwed us with the vote in the Security Council,” wrote Lapid, referring to the claim in the report that Netanyahu overruled the Foreign Ministry because of pressure from Moscow.
The vote on the Syrian resolution in the General Assembly took place two days before an anti-settlement resolution – which the Russians supported – passed in the Security Council.
“Children are being murdered in Syria. Tens of thousands of children are starving, just like he did; are being bombed, just like he was; are sentenced to death, just like he was,” wrote Lapid of his father. “And we can’t be bothered to come to a vote.
They didn’t ask us to help, only to take a moral stance, and even that we couldn’t do.”
The resolution passed by a vote of 105 to 15, with 52 abstentions and 15 countries that did not show up for the vote, including – in addition to Israel – Rwanda, Libya and Eritrea.
The resolution called for the establishment of a mechanism under the UN auspices to “collect, consolidate, preserve and analyze evidence of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights violations and abuses and to prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings, in accordance with international law standards, in national, regional or international courts or tribunals that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over these crimes, in accordance with international law.”
Neither the Foreign Ministry nor the Prime Minister’s Office had a comment on the matter.
One diplomatic source, however, confirmed that the Foreign Ministry was overruled on this by Netanyahu, but was skeptical that it was a result of Russian pressure.
Rather, the source said, Netanyahu wanted Israel to stay away from the vote because of the fear of setting a precedent for the establishment of these types of mechanisms to investigate war crimes and because of concern it would lead to the Palestinians asking for the same type of action to be used against Israel.