AJC: UN Report on Gaza War Unfairly Criticizes Israel
Jun 22, 2015, 03:00 ET
NEW YORK, June 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC strongly criticized a new UN report, released today, on last summer's war between Hamas and Israel.
The UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict was established by the UN Human Rights Council last September. The Council has a longstanding, well-established bias against Israel, reflected in the body annually adopting more resolutions on Israel than all other countries combined.
"An honest examination of the events leading up to last summer's war and what transpired during the conflict would acknowledge that the violence was initiated by Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization that controls Gaza, and that Israel took necessary measures to defend its citizens," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "Though the UN Commission report, at the very least, did acknowledge the cross-border tunnels and indiscriminate rocket firing from Gaza, it refers to 'Palestinian armed groups,' not specifically to Hamas, as responsible."
"The Commission was flawed from its inception," said Harris. First, the Council chose as commission chairman Canadian law professor William Schabas despite his having worked for the PLO. Schabas resigned in February, after Israel and others raised questions and concerns about his prior affiliation. He was replaced as chair by Justice Mary McGowan Davis of the U.S.
Second, the Commission was tasked to examine alleged violations of human rights and humanitarian law between June 13 (importantly, the day after three young Israelis were kidnapped and subsequently killed) and August 26, 2014, "across the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular in Gaza."
"Sadly, the UN Human Rights Council, and the commission of inquiry it spawned, ignored basic facts from the outset," said Harris.
"Gaza is not occupied by Israel, which transferred the coastal enclave to the Palestinian Authority in 2005. It was Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007, that initiated the war and is responsible for the casualties and destruction. Hamas fired thousands of rockets and missiles and had constructed a tunnel network across the border to kill, maim and capture Israelis:"
The Council's last report on Israeli actions in a conflict with Hamas, in 2009, was later repudiated by its author, Judge Richard Goldstone, in a stunning rebuke to the entire investigative process.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee
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