A Palestinian student sits on a motorcycle as he watches a protest at the gate of the headquarters of UNRWA in Gaza City.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The United Nations Human Rights Council report on last summer’s war in Gaza was released last Monday. In anticipation of the report, whose findings were a foregone conclusion, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that Israel would not bear the brunt of yet another unjust assault on its character and behavior in the face of barbarism.
His sentiments were drowned out, however, by the cacophony of cheers from much of the media and most of the NGOs whose testimony to the UNHRC provided canon fodder against Israel.
It’s an old story with a predictable punch line: Israel is no better than Hamas and other “armed groups” in Gaza. But it has less of an excuse than Palestinian terrorists to engage in military action, since the only reason that it incurs rocket and mortar attacks is that it is an occupying power, which denies innocent Palestinians basic human rights protected by all kinds of international conventions.
The report is 183 pages long. A good half of it lies in endless footnotes in small type and different fonts.
This, along with tedious language, makes the document difficult to read. Lulled by its legalese, bullets, numbers and fine print, a reader is liable to miss some of its more revealing details. You know, like the fact that far-Left organizations, such as B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence, are among the more prominent sources on which the “evidence” is based.
But never mind. All that was to be expected, as was the Orwellian inversion of events and reverse attribution of war crimes – so that Israel, rather than Hamas, appeared to be the guilty party where using human shields was concerned. Indeed, it would be hilarious if it were not so nauseating.
Still, even when one is braced for the bad, it can always be worse.
Reams of analysis and commentary have been, and will be, written about the gist and minutiae of this booklet of lies. But one particular passage is worth highlighting, before it gets lost in the fray. I am referring to Paragraphs 26 and 27, in a subsection titled “International humanitarian law.”
The text reads as follows: “The Occupied Palestinian Territory is comprised of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and the Gaza strip. The Government of Israel adopts the position that since it withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005 during the ‘disengagement,’ it no longer has effective control over what happens in Gaza and thus can no longer be considered as an occupying power under international law. The commission agrees that the exercise of ‘effective control’ test is the correct standard to use in determining whether a State is the occupying power over a given territory, but notes that the continuous presence of soldiers on the ground is only one criterion to be used in determining effective control.
“International law does not require the continuous presence of troops of the occupying forces in all areas of a territory, in order for it to be considered as being occupied. In the Naletelic case [of 2003], the ICTY [International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia] held that the law of occupation also applies in areas where a state possesses the ‘capacity to send troops within a reasonable time to make its power felt.’ The size of Gaza and the fact that it is almost completely surrounded by Israel facilitates the ability for Israel to make its presence felt.
This principle was confirmed by the United States Military Tribunal at Nuremberg which stated: ‘It is clear that the German Armed Forces were able to maintain control of Greece and Yugoslavia until they evacuated them in the fall of 1944. While it is true that the partisans were able to control sections of these countries at various times, it is established that the Germans could at any time they desired assume physical control of any part of the country. The control of the resistance forces was temporary only and not such as would deprive the German Armed Forces of its status of an occupant.’” In comparing the IDF to the German army during WWII a mere few pages into the report, the commission need not have wasted any more paper in its condemnation of the very existence of the Jewish state.
With the UN shamelessly offering such a blatantly anti-Semitic analogy, who needs to hide behind the pretense of BDS? The writer is the web editor of Voice of Israel talk radio (voiceofisrael.com) and a columnist at