The UN Human Rights Council’s ludicrous decision on Wednesday to open an international inquiry into Israeli violations that may have been committed during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza is outrageously hypocritical.
This travesty of justice should be rejected outright by decent people and nations everywhere, as the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem beseeched.
Instead of backing Israel’s justifiable right as a democratic state to respond forcefully to clear human rights violations by Gaza’s Hamas rulers both before and during the current military campaign, the international forum in Geneva chose to side with the terrorists.
At the end of its so-called emergency session more than two weeks after Israel launched its offensive, the 47-member UNHRC adopted a ridiculous resolution presented by the Palestinians in a vote of 29 states in favor, with only the United States opposing and 17 others abstaining.
The abstentions included members of the European Union that call themselves Israel’s friends, among them Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Austria and Romania.
It should be pointed out that these countries (and, what is more, several of their ambassadors in Israel) had previously joined the international outcry against Hamas and supported Israel’s right of self-defense against what is patently a terrorist campaign against its civilians.
Yet rather than investigating the terrorist organization, the UNHRC turned logic upside down by saying it is Israel that should be investigated.
As the Prime Minister’s Office said in its statement, it is so obviously Hamas that is committing double war crimes by not only firing deadly rockets at innocent Israeli civilians, but also carrying out the attacks behind innocent Palestinian civilians.
Israel has indeed gone to unprecedented lengths to keep Palestinian civilians out of harm’s way, including by dropping leaflets, making phone calls and sending text messages to residents of Gaza.
“The UNHRC should be launching an investigation into Hamas’s decision to turn hospitals into military command centers, use schools as weapons depots and place missile batteries next to playgrounds, private homes and mosques,” the Prime Minister’s Office correctly pointed out. “By failing to condemn Hamas’s systematic use of human shields and by blaming Israel for the deaths that are caused by this grotesque human shields policy, the UNHRC is sending a message to Hamas and terror organizations everywhere that using civilians as human shields is an effective strategy.”
Just like the infamous investigation ordered by the UNHRC and led by South African judge Richard Goldstone after Operation Cast Lead in 2009, “this investigation by a kangaroo court is a foregone conclusion,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.
“The predictable result will be the libeling of Israel and even greater use of human shields in the future by Hamas,” it said. “Those who will pay the price will be not only Israelis but also Palestinians whom Hamas will redouble its efforts to use as human shields in the future.”
The Goldstone Report, it should be recalled, was ultimately renounced by its own author On April 1, 2011, the Jewish jurist retracted his claim that the government had deliberately targeted Gaza civilians in Operation Cast Lead, saying: “While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the UN committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.”
It really did not matter that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay opened the emergency session in Geneva by condemning the indiscriminate firing of rockets and mortars by Palestinian terrorists into Israel. It was her next statement that makes the blood boil.
Citing cases of Israeli air strikes and shells hitting homes and hospitals in Gaza, Pillay said: “These are just a few examples where there seems to be a strong possibility that international humanitarian law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes.”
Does Pillay not know that Hamas is using these same homes and hospitals to store weapons and carry out attacks against Israeli civilians, under the cover of Palestinian civilians serving as human shields? Does she not know that Hamas has stooped low enough to use ambulances to carry arms, that it has stored these arms in kindergartens and even schools run by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency? “Civilian homes are not legitimate targets unless they are being used for, or contribute to, military purposes at the time in question,” Pillay said in her preposterous remarks. “In case of doubt, civilian homes are presumed not to be legitimate targets. Even where a home is identified as being used for military purposes, any attack must be proportionate, offer a definite military advantage in the prevailing circumstances at the time, and precautions must be taken.”
Whom is she kidding? Would Pillay act proportionately if her home were under terrorist attack? And exactly what precautions would she take? Regarding Israel’s well-known policy to avoid civilian casualties whenever possible and even warn Gazans in advance to prevent such casualties, Pillay made the following incredible rejoinder: “Even if Israel has attempted to warn civilians to, for example, leave their homes or conducted an evacuation before an attack, this does not release Israel from its obligations under international humanitarian law. Any warning for civilians must meet with the requirements of international law, including that this warning be clear, credible and allows sufficient time for people to react to it.”
International law? Is this not the same law Hamas violates constantly when it targets Israeli civilians? Would it have been too much to ask Pillay to empathize with the millions of Israeli civilians under rocket fire and the dozens of young Israeli soldiers who have been killed or wounded in their heroic efforts to stop the rocket fire and destroy the tunnels through which Hamas has been smuggling arms and ammunition? Would it have been too much to ask that the international human rights watchdog do its duty and take a strong stand for human rights and against terror?
As Shakespeare’s Shylock famously said, “Hath not a Jew eyes?... If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” We have a good Jewish word for the stand taken by Pillay and her council: chutzpah. And if there was ever an example of the height of chutzpah, it is the anti-Israel – and yes, anti-Semitic – resolution the UNHRC adopted on Wednesday. It should be forever recorded in the annals of Israel, UN and world history as among the blackest of days.