‘Too few’: Israel encouraged by US opposition to UNHRC inquiry into alleged war crimes

December 29, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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David Roet, Head of North American Affairs Division at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a former Israeli diplomat at the United Nations, welcomed the US declaration that it would fight the Commission of Inquiry (COI) established by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) solely focused on Israel’s response to Hamas’ aggression during Operation Guardian of the Walls.

The U.N. building in New York. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The UN General Assembly approved last week funding for an open-ended COI into Israel’s conduct after the UN rights chief said the IDF may have committed war crimes in its 11-day campaign in May. This is the first COI with an unlimited mandate.

Patrick Kennedy, a US representative to the UN, stated that the country “stands with Israel in rejecting the unprecedented open-ended mandate of this Commission of Inquiry, which perpetuates a practice of unfairly singling out Israel in the UN.”

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations expressed disappointment with Australia and others who abstained.

The US “will continue to oppose this COI and look for opportunities in Geneva to revisit its mandate, which unfortunately was adopted while the United States did not have a seat on the Human Rights Council. The United States will work in Geneva, where the debate over this COI’s mandate belongs, to persuade more Member States that it is inherently biased and an obstacle to the cause of peace,” the representative stated.

“Israel can continue to count on the United States to do everything possible to shield it from discriminatory and unbalanced criticism, whether at the Human Rights Council or elsewhere in the UN system,” Kennedy underscored.

In response, Roet tweeted Monday: “Cause that’s what friends are for.”

Israel thanked the US “for its strong and continuous support of Israel and for standing up against discrimination, biases and the singling out of Israel at the UNHRC and the UN and other international forums.”

However, “tragically far too few do the same,” he noted.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations stated Monday that it was “appalled” by the UN’s vote to approve the COI.

“The UN is not making any effort to investigate the actions of Hamas, the internationally-designated terrorist organization, which launched over 4,000 rockets at civilian targets in Israel,” the organization charged.

“We vehemently oppose this one-sided farce of a probe, which again demonstrates the clear anti-Israel bias in the UN body. Israel is the only member state in the history of the UN to be singled out for taking defensive military action to ensure the security of its civilian population. Indeed, throughout the history of UN actions, no other investigation received authorization to spend unlimited resources without an explicit mandate. The unprecedented UNGA vote presupposes wrongdoing, while unfairly challenging Israel’s right to self-defence in accordance with international law,” the statement said.

They thanked the US, Hungary, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and Papua New Guinea who joined with Israel to vote against the commission and expressed disappointment in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom, who chose to abstain, rather than “oppose this immoral and destructive measure.”

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