Israel furious as UN unveils Gaza probe team

2014-08-12 21:29
Head of the Palestinian delegation Azzam al-Ahmed and others members of the delegation arrive to the hotel after a meeting with Egyptians seniors intelligence in Cairo. (Khaled Desouki, AFP)

Head of the Palestinian delegation Azzam al-Ahmed and others members of the delegation arrive to the hotel after a meeting with Egyptians seniors intelligence in Cairo. (Khaled Desouki, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

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

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.