Pro-Israel Crowd in Geneva Protests Outside UN Human Rights Council’s Ritual Condemnation of Jewish State
Hundreds of pro-Israel demonstrators on Monday gathered outside the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 40th session in Geneva as the body prepared for its annual “item 7” debate — a fixed agenda item for Israel alone among the UN’s 193 member states, and one solely dedicated to alleged Israeli human rights abuses.
Organized by the human rights advocacy organization UN Watch under the slogan #EnoughisEnough, speakers at the rally called for the scrapping of “item 7.”
“It speaks to the fundamental flaws of the Human Rights Council that it singles out Israel on a permanent basis,” Richard Grenell — the US ambassador to Germany — told the crowd to applause.
Monday’s rally coincided with what UN Watch called an “unprecedented assault” on Israel, as the council published seven separate reports alleging Israeli war crimes and other human rights offenses. By comparison, some of the world’s most notorious human rights abusers, including North Korea, Venezuela and Syria, are the subject of just one resolution each.
In protest of the UN Human Rights Council's unprecedented censorship of my speech below, I have formally withdrawn my speaking slot in the next UNHRC debate today. I urge UN rights chief @mbachelet & monitor @davidakaye to speak out for freedom of speech with the UN itself. https://t.co/JDBWjuuw7h
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) March 18, 2019
Leading the pack was the UN Gaza Commission of Inquiry, which released a 228-page report on the weekly Hamas-led border demonstrations known as the “Great March of Return.” About two hundred Palestinians were killed and hundreds more wounded during the protests from March to December 2018, the subject of the inquiry. The commission’s chairman, Argentine diplomat Santiago Canton, accused the IDF of “application of lethal force [that] was in the majority of cases authorized unlawfully.”
Canton charged Israel with engaging in the “arbitrary deprivation of life.”
The new Gaza inquiry’s report calls on countries around the world to “arrest persons alleged to have committed the international crimes” — IDF personnel of all ranks — and to subject them to “individual sanctions,” including “a travel ban or an assets freeze.”
The report further calls for the UN Human Rights Council to “manage the dossiers on the alleged [Israeli] perpetrators,” to be provided to national and international tribunals, “including the International Criminal Court.”
Israeli analysts were sharply critical of the latest Gaza report, pointing out that the commission had flatly ignored statements by Hamas’ own leaders that depicted the clashes on the border as a war on Israel, rather than a civilian protest.
“[The report ignores Hamas leader] Mahmoud Zahar’s explanation that ‘when we talk about peaceful resistance, we are deceiving the public. This is peaceful resistance bolstered by military force and by security agencies,'” a briefing from the Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor said following the report’s publication.
NGO Monitor asserted that there were “major flaws” in the UN report, among them the inclusion of 350 “anonymous, unverifiable” interviews and the claim that the so-called “armed wings” of Palestinian terrorist groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine “helped organize, but were not represented” at the border protests.