Lapid slams ‘anti-Semitic’ UN report accusing Israel of violating international law

Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Friday morning criticized a United Nations report accusing Israel of violating international law, as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged rights abuses in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip after the 11 days of fighting from last year between Israel and the Hamas terror group.

“Precisely because I was not Prime Minister at the time of Operation Guardian of the Walls, I feel compelled to point out: the UN report on the operation is biased, false, inciting and manifestly unbalanced” , Lapid said on Twitter, referring to the 2021 Conflict.

“Not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism, but this report was written by anti-Semites (as Israel has already revealed) and is a clearly anti-Semitic report,” he added.

The ongoing United Nations Commission of Inquiry has issued its second report Thursday, calling on the Security Council to end Israel’s “permanent occupation” and on UN member states to prosecute Israeli officials.

The 28-page document, which will be presented to the General Assembly on October 27, accuses Israel of violating international law by making its control over the West Bank permanent and by annexing Palestinian-claimed land in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and Land Syrian in the Golan Heights.

“Israeli’s actions constituting de facto annexation include the expropriation of land and natural resources, the establishment of settlements and outposts, the maintenance of a restrictive and discriminatory planning and construction regime for Palestinians and the extraterritorial extension of Israeli law to Israeli settlers in the West Bank,” the report read.

Israeli security forces monitor Palestinians crossing an Israeli checkpoint near the West Bank city of Bethlehem on April 22, 2022. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

He also accused Israel of discriminatory policies against Arab citizens, theft of natural resources and gender-based violence against Palestinian women.

The commission cited “reasonable grounds” to conclude that Israel’s presence in the West Bank “is now illegal under international law because of its permanence” as well as the Israeli government’s “de facto annexation policies”.

“By ignoring international law in establishing or facilitating the establishment of settlements, and by directly or indirectly transferring Israeli civilians to these settlements, successive Israeli governments have established facts on the ground to ensure permanent Israeli control. in the West Bank,” said Navi Pillay, a former UN human rights chief who chairs the commission.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay speaks during a press conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. (AP/Keystone , Salvatore Di Nolfi)

The report does not mention the words “Hamas”, “rockets” or “terrorism”.

Israel refused to cooperate with the commission and did not grant him entry into Israel or access to Palestinian-controlled areas in the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel’s mission in Geneva rejected the report, saying: “Commissioners who have made anti-Semitic comments and who have proactively engaged in anti-Israel activism, both before and after their appointment, have no legitimacy or credibility to address the issue at hand”.

The embassy added that the report undermined the credibility of the UN and its human rights mechanisms.

Pillay is leading the inquiry and is joined by India’s Miloon Kothari, the first UN special rapporteur on adequate housing, and Australian international human rights law expert Chris Sidoti.

Kothari caused outcry after being quoted on a podcast this summer speaking out against the ‘Jewish lobby’ and questioning Israel’s inclusion in the UN, prompting Israeli accusations of anti-Semitism and calling for his resignation . Pillay defended Kothari and said his comments were deliberately contextualized. Kothari has since apologized.

Miloon Kothari, a member of the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry into the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, briefs reporters on the Commission’s first report, June 14, 2022. (UN Photo/Jean Marc Ferre)

Sidoti previously dismissed accusations of anti-Semitism against the commission and said they were “thrown away like rice at a wedding”.

The commission was created last year during a special session of the Council in May 2021 – following fighting between Israel and Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip – when the United Nations Human Rights Council instructed the body to investigate “all alleged violations of international humanitarian law”. and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law” in Israel, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

The commission was the first to have an open-ended mandate from the UN human rights body – rather than being tasked with investigating a specific crime – and critics say such a ongoing review shows anti-Israel bias in the council of 47 member states. Supporters back the commission as a way to keep tabs on the injustices suffered by Palestinians under decades of Israeli rule.

An Israeli demining officer inspects a house damaged by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Sderot on May 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Its first report, an 18-page document released in juneblamed Israel’s “continuing discrimination against Palestinians” for the violence between the two sides.

Following Kothari’s comments this summer, Israel called to dissolve immediately the Commission. Lapid said in late July that the commission was “fundamentally tainted by the publicly expressed biases of its leadership, which fail to meet the fundamental standards of neutrality, independence and impartiality required by the United Nations”, he said. declared.

Israel justifies its policy by security measures necessary to stop terrorism.

Lazar Berman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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