The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY HILLEL NEUER

CAN IS­RAEL ex­pect jus­tice from the new UN in­quiry on Gaza?

The com­mis­sion was es­tab­lished by the UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil in its emer­gency ses­sion of July 23.

The ur­gent meet­ing on Gaza — as the 47-na­tion body turns a blind eye to mass slaugh­ter in Iraq, Syria and Nige­ria — was con­vened by the Arab and Is­lamic states, with the sup­port of Rus­sia, China, Cuba and other dic­ta­tor­ships who sit on the coun­cil.

In a rare oc­cur­rence at the coun­cil — where Is­rael is the ob­ject of more res­o­lu­tions than the rest of the world com­bined, and the only na­tion sin­gled out at ev­ery meet­ing un­der a spe­cial agenda item — the spon­sors strug­gled to ob­tain the req­ui­site sig­na­tures of 16 coun­tries.

The vi­tu­per­a­tive ses­sion ended with a res­o­lu­tion that con­demned Is­rael 18 times, but which failed to men­tion Ha­mas even once.

It cre­ated a com­mis­sion of in­quiry to in­ves­ti­gate war crimes in Gaza “in the con­text of the mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions con­ducted since 13 June 2014”, which the pre­am­ble de­fined as be­ing those by Is­rael, and con­demned as “grave vi­o­la­tions”. The con­text not cho­sen was the Ha­mas


ag­gres­sion against Is­rael. The EU re­fused to sup­port the one-sided text, say­ing it was “un­bal­anced, in­ac­cu­rate and pre­judges the out­come of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by mak­ing le­gal state­ments”. On Mon­day, in record time, the UN an­nounced the com­mis­sion­ers: Amal Ala­mud­din, a 36-year-old Lon­don lawyer known world­wide as the fianceé of Ge­orge Clooney, long-time UN of­fi­cial Doudou Diène of Sene­gal, and Mid­dle­sex Univer­sity law pro­fes­sor Wil­liam Sch­abas as chair.

UN Watch sounded the alarm: Mr Sch­abas has a long record of state- ments at­tack­ing Is­rael and de­fend­ing the Ira­nian regime.

Specif­i­cally, we cited his re­cent par­tic­i­pa­tion in a mock trial of al­leged Is­raeli war crimes, in which he said that Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu was “my favourite” to put “in the dock of the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court”.

Not the mass mur­der­ers of Syria, Iraq, Su­dan. His one favourite: Mr Ne­tanyahu. How could some­one openly ex­press his dream of in­dict­ing a par­tic­u­lar in­di­vid­ual — and the next day claim to be his im­par­tial judge?

Hours later, the press agent of Mr Clooney an­nounced that the Hol­ly­wood star’s fi­ancée had pulled out. The UN’s bril­liant pub­lic re­la­tions strat­egy im­ploded, and the world body was left with egg on its face.

For his part, Mr Sch­abas says he picked Mr Ne­tanyahu as his ideal crim­i­nal merely be­cause he was “echo­ing the Gold­stone Re­port”. But Mr Ne­tanyahu was not prime min­is­ter dur­ing the 2009 war, and is nowhere men­tioned in that re­port.

So what to ex­pect from the Sch­abas Re­port? Is­rael, in­clud­ing his “favourite” prime min­is­ter, will be in­dicted for war crimes, and Ha­mas ef­fec­tively ex­on­er­ated. Even if the re­port does crit­i­cise the 3,000 rocket fir­ings, the out­come res­o­lu­tion by the Arab­con­trolled coun­cil will once again only con­demn Is­rael.

Though it may not save a process born in prej­u­dice, I urge Bri­tish ju­rists with in­tegrity and courage to do at least one thing: in the name of jus­tice, they should call on Mr Sch­abas to re­cuse him­self. Hillel Neuer is ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of UN Watch in Geneva


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