ACLJ's International Affiliate Calls on United Nations to End Biased Comments Accusing Israel of War Crimes

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The European Centre for Law & Justice (ECLJ) – the international affiliate of the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) – today called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to end her biased comments insinuating that Israel is guilty of war crimes while giving Hamas a pass for deadly tactics used by the terrorists which clearly violate international law.

"The United Nations has a responsibility to be fair and objective in its comments regarding Israel's legitimate and lawful attempt to protect its citizens from terrorists." said Jay Sekulow, who serves as Chief Counsel of the ECLJ as well as the ACLJ. "By choosing sides, the UN's misleading rhetoric undermines the organization's integrity and legitimacy. Such one-sided criticism is not only unjustified, but also dangerous, reprehensible, and morally bankrupt. It encourages Hamas to continue to violate international law with impunity at the expense of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians. At the very least, the UN should be expected to even-handedly report the facts, criticize the real aggressor, and have the courage to say which party is responsible for placing innocent lives at risk. That apparently is too much to ask. Readily available evidence establishes beyond doubt that Hamas is routinely, openly, and notoriously violating international law. Yet, Israel is singled out by the UN and others for actions it would have preferred to avoid altogether, but for the incessant attacks on Israeli soil from Hamas-controlled Gaza."

The ECLJ is an international, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights and to the furtherance of the rule of law in international affairs. The ECLJ has held Special Consultative Status before the United Nations/ECOSOC since 2007.

In a detailed letter sent to H.E. Navanethem Pillay – the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland – the ECLJ argues that international law recognizes Israel's inherent right of self-defense in protecting its civilian population from Hamas terror attacks. At the same time, the ECLJ contends that attacking a legitimate military target is not a war crime and argues that Israel is complying with international law – taking the necessary precautions before striking a military target near civilians.

The ECLJ argues the UN is ignoring Israel's lawful response to terrorism and ignoring the fact that Hamas terrorists are engaging in a systematic campaign to target civilians that violates international law.

The ECLJ says Hamas is violating international law and committing war crimes by engaging in the following tactics:

  • By Intentionally Placing Its Weapons Caches, Firing Sites, and Military Headquarters in Civilian Areas, Hamas Is Solely Responsible for Incidental Harm to Civilians that Occurs When Israel Must Deal With Such Sites.
  • Using Places of Worship for Military Purposes.
  • Using Schools for Military Purposes.
  • Using Civilian Neighborhoods for Military Purposes.
  • Using Hospitals for Military Purposes.

The ECLJ contends the UN is one-sided and biased against Israel in its remarks about the conflict.  The ECLJ points out that Israel "is making herculean attempts to fully comply with IHL (International Humanitarian Law)" while the other side – Hamas – "could essentially care less."

In its letter to the UN, the ECLJ contends: "You have not seriously condemned Hamas for indiscriminately firing thousands of rockets into Israel to create terror and attack innocent Israeli civilians. The rules of war were adopted, inter alia, to protect civilian lives. They can only do so if they are enforced in an even-handed manner. So far, you are attacking the wrong party. Israel seeks to comply with IHL. Only the blind – or those intentionally blinding themselves to the facts – could criticise Israel and give Hamas a pass."

The ECLJ letter, posted here, concludes:

"We, therefore, respectfully urge you to thoroughly examine what you say before you say it. We further urge you to examine the facts to determine which party in the Gaza conflict really seeks to comply with IHL and which does not. An objective, honest, evaluation will, we are confident, lead any honest person, to conclude that Israel is the only party seeking to meet the requirements of IHL. As such, Israel should be commended, not vilified, for its efforts to carry out its IHL obligations in the face of a determined, fanatical, unprincipled foe which intentionally and indiscriminately attacks Israeli civilians and uses its own civilian population as human shields."

The letter sent to the UN comes just weeks after the ECLJ condemned comments made by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – biased comments accusing Israel of war crimes.

Led by ECLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the European Centre for Law & Justice (ECLJ) is based in Strasbourg, France. The ECLJ is an international affiliate of the American Center for Law and Justice, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and online at aclj.org.

MEDIA  CONTACTS: 
For Print: Gene Kapp  (757) 575-9520
For Broadcast:  Alison Geist or Anna Hutsell (770) 813-0000

SOURCE American Center for Law and Justice



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