(June 2, 2021 / JNS) At this point in time, we are all aware of the anti-Israel bias in the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The number of anti-Israel resolutions adopted each year by the council surpasses those of infamous human-rights violators around the world. That statistic alone is enough to determine just how untrustworthy the UNHRC is.
It is therefore not surprising that on May 27, the Human Rights Council convened for its 30th special session on “the grave human-rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” where they decided to launch a probe into war crimes in “the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel.”
Like in the past, its members decided not to investigate crimes in Gaza Strip, nor do they mention Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the resolution. In order to cover their bases, the probe only pertains to violations leading up to April 13, 2021, and will not investigate any violation afterwards, such as the international-law violations of shooting rockets from civilian areas and launching rockets at civilian populations that Hamas and the PIJ have committed.
It is hypocritical on behalf of the 60-some states, led by Pakistan, to call for this special session and introduce the anti-Israel resolution. Of the 60-some states, 53 are ranked by CATO. It is interesting to note that all but one are ranked lower than Israel on the CATO Human Freedom Index of 2020. While Israel is ranked 53 in their index, the average ranking of the 53 countries is 118!
What separates this resolution from similar resolutions adopted in the past is the fact that the International Criminal Court (ICC) in early 2021 has also announced a probe into Israeli practices. When adopting the recent resolution, the UNHRC is clearly sending a signal to the ICC as to what outcome they are expecting to see after their probe.
More importantly, the ICC probe includes any war crime committed by any party in Gaza, the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. The UNHRC resolution does not include Gaza, and singles out Israel. It also ignores Hamas and PIJ terrorist activities and violations of international law in Gaza.
If you are asking, “Who cares about the UNHRC probe? They have adopted similar resolutions in the past, and nothing has come out of it,” then you are wrong this time. Normally, a UNHRC resolution alone does not have any draconian ramifications. The probe can only conclude with recommendations for countries and agencies to take measures against Israel. But if Israel or an Israeli person is convicted in the ICC court, then that has the potential of triggering sanctions, and even forcing countries and agencies around the world to enforce the court’s sentence. The UNHRC resolution will clearly skew the ICC probe into Israel and lead to a considerably unfavorable outcome for the Jewish state.
It amazes me how in less than a week since the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the human-rights body has managed to look into the potential war crimes, read reports and analyze what occurred before deciding to investigate serious crimes they attribute to Israel. This shows just how biased the UNHRC is. It came to the meeting ready to throw a dart; all they needed to do was draw the target around it.
This body does not promote human rights; it promotes human hatred towards Israel.
Benjamin Weil is director of the Project for Israel’s National Security for the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), a pro-Israel and pro-American think tank and policy institute in Washington, D.C. He formerly served as the international adviser to Yuval Steinitz, a member of Israel’s Security Cabinet.
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