‘Waste of Money’: Israel Bashes UN Probe Blaming ‘Occupation’ of Palestinian Areas for Continued Conflict
Israel has dismissed the findings of a United Nations commission report which blamed the country’s “perpetual occupation” of Palestinian territory as the “key root” of recurring tensions and cycles of violence in the conflict.
A report by the Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry (COI) published on Tuesday was denounced by the Israeli Foreign Ministry as a “biased and one-sided report tainted with hatred for the State of Israel and based on a long series of previous one-sided and biased reports, [which] disregards years of murderous terrorism by Palestinian terrorist organizations against Israeli citizens, as well as the Palestinians’ long-standing obstinacy and the vicious and antisemitic incitement carried out by the Palestinian Authority and its networks.”
The 18-page report “is nothing more than a waste of money and effort of the United Nations’ systems, part and parcel of the witch hunt being carried out by the Human Rights Council against Israel,” the ministry stated.
Helmed by Navi Pillay, a former South African judge and former United Nations human rights chief, the COI was created last year by the UN Human Rights Council following the 11-day war in May between Israel and the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip. The COI, led by a team of three human rights experts, was formed as a permanent and open-ended entity dedicated solely to investigate alleged Israeli abuse of Palestinians.
The report accuses Israel of maintaining a repressive environment for Palestinians and favoring Israeli settlers as well as destroying Palestinian water infrastructure, including pipelines, wells and reservoirs, and the denial of construction permits.
“What has become a situation of perpetual occupation was cited by Palestinian and Israeli stakeholders to the Commission as the one common issue that constitutes the underlying root cause of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict in both the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel,” the authors wrote in the report. “Ending the continued Israeli occupation and discrimination against Palestinians is essential to stopping the conflict and halting the persistent cycle of violence, while a ‘culture of impunity’ feeds resentment and fuels recurrent tensions, instability, and protraction of conflict that compromises chances for sustainable peace and security.”
“Israel clearly has no intention of ending the occupation,” Commissioner Chris Sidoti stated. “In fact, it has established clear policies to ensure complete permanent control over the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
Since the COI started its work, Israel has refused to cooperate with the investigation and declined to allow UN representatives entry to Israel or the Palestinian territories. To gather information for the report, the members of the commission visited Jordan and Geneva to meet with government representatives of the State of Palestine and of Jordan, Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations, and international non-governmental organizations.
The COI has already courted controversy for being uniquely open-ended, while the UNHRC has been criticized for approving more condemnatory resolutions on Israel than on Iran, Syria, and North Korea combined.
The report did acknowledge that the Palestinian Authority frequently uses Israel’s “occupation as a justification for its own human rights violations and as the core reason for its failure to hold legislative and presidential elections.”
It also criticized the “de facto authorities in Gaza” for widespread repression of human rights.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the main pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington, DC, slammed the report as a rehash of “more than 50 years of discriminatory and one-sided UN reports, commissions and resolutions that inaccurately blame the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the Jewish state.”
“The authors of the COI refuse to accept Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, and they ignore the historic and ongoing refusal of the Palestinians to accept Israel as a Jewish state as the root cause of the conflict,” AIPAC said.
AIPAC urged the US to dismiss the report and called on Congress to pass the bipartisan COI Elimination Act which would deny any possible US funds to the UN organization.
The COI is mandated to issue reports to the UN Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly annually, in June and September respectively.