UNHRC to call for arms embargo against Israel along with war crimes probe

UNHRC to call for arms embargo against Israel along with war crimes probe

UNHRC to call for arms embargo against Israel along with war crimes probe 640 582 VISFER

It would mark the first time that the UNHRC created a permanent fact-finding mission with respect to any UN member state.

 MAY 27, 2021 JP

Overview of the Human Rights Council one day after the U.S. announced their withdraw at the United Nations in Geneva,

The United Nations Human Rights Council is set to vote Thursday on a resolution that would call for an arms embargo against Israel and would create a permanent fact finding commission to investigate it for war crimes against Palestinians.

If approved at Thursday “special session” the 47-member UNHRC the “commission of inquiry’ would begin looking at incidents that occurred both before and after April 13, 2021. The decision to call for such a probe was sparked by the 11-day IDF-Hamas war and was submitted by the Palestinian Authority and Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
It would mark the first time that the UNHRC created a permanent fact-finding mission with respect to any UN member state.
The UNHRC already calls annually for an arms embargo against Israel. Its insertion is in addition to that annual text.
This new text “urges all States to refrain from transferring arms when they assess, in accordance with applicable national procedures and international obligations and standards, that there is a clear risk that such arms might be used in the commission or facilitation of serious violations or abuses of international human rights law or serious violations of international humanitarian law.”
The UNHRC’s special session on Israel, is the 30th it has held since its inception in 2006. This is the ninth such session it has held on Israel.
Among the scheduled speakers are UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian territories Michael Lynk, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights Issam Younis, former MK Mohammed Barakeh, journalist Muna El Kurd who lives in Sheikh Jarrarh, Israeli Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Meirav EIlon Shahar and PA Foreign Minister Riyad Malki.
Dozens of countries have registered to speak including UNHRC member and non-member states. The United States is not a UNHRC member but at present has chosen not to take the floor in an observer role.
In addressing the council Bachelet warned that Israeli actions during the 11-day Gaza war that ended on May 21 may “constitute war crimes.”
She agreed that Hamas caused deaths and injuries in southern Israel and that its “rockets are indiscriminate and fail to distinguish between military and civilian objects, and their use, thereby, constitutes a clear violation of international humanitarian law.” Such violation included Hamas launch of the rockets from civilian areas, she said.
“However, the actions of one party do not absolve the other from its obligations under international law,” Bachelet explained, nor did she accuse of Hamas of potential war crimes.
Bachelet cast doubt on Israel’s claim that the buildings it destroyed in Gaza were Hamas targets, explaining that “we have not seen evidence in this regard.”
She added, “there is no doubt that Israel has the right to defend its citizens and residents. However, Palestinians have rights too. The same rights.”
Eilon Shahar said that Hamas was a “Jihadist, genocidal, terrorist organization” which had confiscated for military purposes humanitarian assistance designated for hospitals and schools. Hamas has called on all Muslims to kill Jews and uses Palestinian women and children as human shields, Eilon Shahar said.
“Hamas’s complete disregard for Palestinian lives worked” because the international community is willing “to blame Israel for every death and because of the inaction by the International Community to ensure Hamas’s arsenal is dismantled,” Eilon Shahar said.
She took issue with the false moral equivalence of comparing Hamas and Israel, when factually speaking, “an immoral equivalence, between Israel, a democracy that seeks peace and abides by international law, and a murderous, extreme terrorist organization.”
Those who support the Palestinians should condemn Hamas, Eilon Shahar said. UNHRC “member states must decide today. You have to decide! Are you pro-Palestinian or pro-Hamas? You cannot be both,” Eilon Shahar said.
“You cannot be pro-Palestinian if you do not condemn Hamas for using its own people, the Palestinian people, as human shields. You cannot be pro-Palestinian if you continue to allow Hamas to use international aid to build terror infrastructure beneath schools, residential buildings, and hospitals,”  Eilon Shahar said.
Malki said that what was a false equation was to believe that the rights of the victims, the Palestinians, were equivalent to those of the aggressor, Israel.
“We refuse to equate between the colonizer and the colonized,” Malki said. “The right to self defense and teh right to resist occupation is a right that we have,” Malki said. In the last week, he explained the Palestinians “sought to defend our land, to defend our holy sites and we believe in victory.”
Malki spoke not just of Gaza but of Israeli action in Jerusalem, where he accused it of attempting to displace Palestinians and evict them from the city so that the neighborhoods they live in could be transformed to Jewish ones.
He charged that Israel was a cowardly racist regime that kills children and blamed the international community for encouraging it to pursue war crimes and create an “apartheid regime.”
The root of the violence, he said, was Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian territory, he said.
Settlers should be put on the terror list and for political and economic sanctions to be imposed on Israel until its ends its “occupation,” Malki said.