Israel furious as UN unveils Gaza probe team

Jerusalem - Israel lashed out on Tuesday after the UN Human Rights Council named the man who will be running an inquiry into its Gaza offensive.

Canadian international lawyer William Schabas, who will head the commission, is widely regarded in Israel as being hostile to the Jewish state over reported calls to bring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the International Criminal Court.

"This commission's anti-Israeli conclusions have already been written, all it needs is a signature," railed foreign ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor.

"For this commission the important thing is not human rights but the rights of terrorist organisations like Hamas," he told AFP.

But in a series of interviews with the Israeli media, Schabas defended himself against allegations of bias against the Jewish state.

"I've frequently lectured in Israel, at universities in Israel, I'm a member of the editorial board of the Israel law review, I wouldn't do those things if I was anti-Israel," he told public radio.

He challenged Palmor's assertion that the commission's findings were a foregone conclusion.

"As far as I'm concerned they're not written at all, that's the whole point of an investigation," he told the radio.

"Many of the questions we have to examine will deal with very precise matters on which the generalities about the conflict don't provide any insight.

"When we look at specific incidents in which... civilians were killed during the conflict, there are issues about targeting, about proportionality, each one of these has to be examined specifically."

In a second interview with Israel's army radio, he said that he would also be looking into the actions of Palestinian militants.

"The mandate that the commission has been given doesn't specify this and I think a reasonable interpretation would be that mandate requires you to look at both sides," he said.

He said the commission's findings are to be published in March 2015.

Israel has long had stormy relations with the UNHRC.

In January 2012, it became the first country to refuse to attend a periodic review of its human rights record.

And two months later, it cut all ties with the Geneva-based council after it announced an inquiry into how West Bank settlements may be infringing on Palestinians rights.

Israel has accused the UNHRC of routinely singling it out at its annual meetings, as well as passing a number of anti-Israel resolutions.

Read more on: palestine israel gaza
Raymon McNelly 2014/08/12 09:49:21 PM
What a effing joke. Why not rather let Ahmadinejad head the team! The outcome will be the same. The UN is a joke!
VoxPopuli 2014/08/12 10:29:49 PM
You cannot kill 1900 civilians and expect to get away with it! Bibi accused hamas of killing 3 israeli teens without evidence and vowed consequences, but expect to get away with killing over 400 palestinian children!
Johan Kotze 2014/08/12 10:38:21 PM
What about the hundreds of innocent children being mercilessly slaughtered in Syria and Iraq? Nobody cares. To hell with the Israelis and the Palestinians for now!!!! Wake up and smell the roses!
Nasser Solomon 2014/08/13 12:45:06 AM
Israel lost the plot this time with the slaughter of defenseless women and children - something the Israeli DF referred to as "mowing the lawn". Netanyahu is a huge fool if he thinks he kill Palestinians into submission - Hamas is alive and well and ready to continue the fight. Meanwhile in SA Jews are disunited, 200k people participated in a pro-Palestine march in Cpt in the biggest demonstration since the end of apartheid and Thabo Mbeki publicly calls for a boycott Israeli goods. Operation Protective Edge resulted in 64 IDF soldiers dead and billions of dollars down the drain and mass protests against Israel all over the world. All in all a gigantic strategic and operational failure for Netanyahoo and the IDF.
Boaz Yarmarkov 2014/08/13 08:27:49 AM
* Since it was created in 2006, the council has issued 40 condemnations of countries—with 33 of them targeting democratic Israel. As a result, the world’s true abusers of human rights, including the most serious perpetrators, continue to go ignored. * Out of the council’s nine emergency sessions that criticized countries, six have been against Israel. Recent and well-publicized killings of innocents—in Iran, China, Nigeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Zimbabwe—have gone completely ignored. * The council’s agenda, which governs every session, features a permanent item targeting Israel. No other country in the world is singled out in this fashion. The council’s anti-Israel resolutions, the one-sided Reports, the hateful statements by EAFORD—all of these appear under the rubric of this biased agenda item, which has come to symbolize the council’s systematic discrimination against Israel. Israel should have left this racist council years ago
Yazeed Isaacs 2014/08/13 09:25:02 AM
The dog is about to get his day. I hope that this lawyer finds enough evidence and prosecutes the Israeli gov for good. Remove their military capacities and make them insignificant again.
Andre James 2014/08/13 11:29:47 AM
This is long overdue but I remember a similar investigation by Richard Goldstone after Operations Cast Lead where Israel was guilty of using white phosphorus and other human rights abuses. I believe Hamas was also called out on abuses, however nothing became of the report. Goldstone was castigated here by the Jewish Board of Deputies which seems to be the norm...turning on their own if the zionist line is not towed. It seems the International Criminal Court is reserved for war lords and dictators of African or Eastern European origin.
James Uknow 2014/08/13 12:43:52 PM
Isreal seems to fit right in with the rest of the middle east when it comes to human rights
irshaad.essa 2014/08/13 04:02:41 PM
If you kill over 2000 civilians and injure over 10 000 for no reason except to steal land, it's the least the UN can do.