Israel Focuses on Discrediting the UN Commission to Investigate Its Violations

The American Axios website revealed Thursday that Israel is planning a campaign to discredit a United Nations committee that was formed to investigate Israel’s war on Gaza last May and the root causes of the protracted conflict in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to a cable. For the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs seen by Axios.

According to the site, “Israeli officials said they are very concerned that the commission’s report will refer to Israel as an “apartheid state” and that its results may harm Israel’s reputation, particularly among progressives in the West.”

The report is expected to be released in June, according to the website.

It is noteworthy that the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva voted narrowly last May in favor of forming a commission of inquiry, while Western countries in the commission objected to the fact that the commission’s mandate was unusually broad when it came to investigating Israeli actions, and neglected to specifically mention the investigation. with Hamas.

Rights groups have accused both Israel and Hamas of violating international law during two weeks of fighting last May, in which more than 250 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip and 13 in Israel.

Axios points out: “The commission is designed to continue, submitting reports in June of each year to the Council in Geneva and submitting them to the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September of each year” and that “in addition to investigating the conflicts in the West Bank and Gaza Strip In Gaza, the commission was also tasked with investigating human rights violations in Israel.

The commission is chaired by former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, former UN Special Rapporteur Melon Kothari and human rights law expert Chris Sidoti.

Axios notes that "Israel has refused to cooperate with the investigation and has claimed that the commission's mandate and membership are biased against Israel."

It is noteworthy that the administration of US President Biden does not support the investigation and played a central role in reducing its funding by 25% in the UN budget negotiations.

Axios revealed that “Last week, the International Organizations Department of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a secret telegram to all Israeli diplomatic missions around the world. And classified the investigation committee as its top priority at the United Nations in 2022, and that “the relevant cable stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was about to start a diplomatic campaign on this issue, which will increase before the meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in the month of March.”

Israel has had some partial successes in the past when it sought to discredit UN committees, and in some cases, UN investigators resigned, and the judge responsible for investigating the 2008 Gaza war later retracted some of his conclusions.

The site notes that a spokesperson for the investigation committee refused to comment directly on Israel’s criticism, but said, “The committee is composed of three independent and impartial experts who are not paid for their work and will investigate allegations of violations of international law by all parties – state or non-state – without discrimination” and that "As an independent body, the Commission conducts its own investigations independently and separately from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and other United Nations offices and agencies."

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