Known anti-Israel critic appointed head of UNHRC Gaza probe

( Known anti-Israel critic William Schabas, a Canadian professor of international law, has been selected to head a three-person investigation by the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) into the Gaza conflict, which the Israeli government slammed as a “kangaroo court.”

The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. 

Schabas in the past has called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former President Shimon Peres, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, to be indicted before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

"Why are we going after the president of Sudan for Darfur and not the president of Israel [Peres] for Gaza?” Schabas said in 2009, according to the watchdog group U.N. Watch.

Also in 2009, Schabas claimed that former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was not anti-Semitic, but rather nothing more than a “provocative politician.”

However, in an interview with Israel Radio on Tuesday, Schabas denied that he is anti-Israel.

“I have frequently lectured in Israel. I am a member of the [International Advisory Board] of the Israel Law Review. I would not do those things if I were anti-Israel,” Schabas said.

But the Israeli Foreign Ministry disputed this, saying that Israel will not get a fair shake in the investigation. 

“His opinions against Israel are known to all, and prove without a doubt that Israel cannot expect justice from this body,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird also slammed the UNHRC’s probe.

“The UN Human Rights Council continues to be a sham for advancing human rights; today’s [announcement] for members of its Gaza inquiry reveals its agenda,” Baird wrote on Twitter.

Schabas will be joined by human rights expert Doudou Diene of Senegal on the probe.

British-Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin, who is engaged to Hollywood star George Clooney, said she would not take part in the probe after initially being selected.

"I am honored to have received the offer, but given existing commitments -- including eight ongoing cases -- I unfortunately could not accept this role," she said in a statement.

Posted on August 12, 2014 .