Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The UN’s Human Rights Council--and Israel

On June 15, 2015, the United Nation’s Human Rights Council UNHRC) began its 29th ‘Session’ (“opening statement of the 29th session of the UNHRC, June 2015”). The UNHRC is led by Jordan’s Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein. He is the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

This ‘session’ will last 22 days—until July 7, 2015. During these 22 days, the subject of Israel’s alleged human rights violations in Gaza in 2014 will be on the agenda. At this session, the UNHRC will unveil a new Report about those ‘violations’. The Report isn’t expected to demonstrate that Israel has a sovereign right to defend itself against rocket attacks aimed at its civilians. It’s not expected to show that, in the 2014 Gaza-Israel war, Hamas carried the major responsibility for civilian deaths that occurred during that war. Instead, it’s expected to make Israel responsible for those deaths.

In his opening statement, High Commissioner Al Hussein did not condemn Israel. Instead, he announced that he is disturbed or concerned or gravely concerned about a number of places around the world where he finds violence against civilians, torture, mass trials, and human rights violations (ibid). Israel, he said, is one of those places (actually, he said ‘the occupied Palestinian territory’ was one of those places; Israel, he has determined, is the cause of those violations in that ‘territory’).

Al Hussein declared that the people of the world “yearn desperately for decisive moral leadership” (ibid).  He said, the people of the world yearn for a moral leadership that is based “on principle, law and humility” (ibid). He strongly suggested that, under his leadership, the UNHRC is going to bring that leadership to the world--along with the “highest standards of professional integrity” (ibid).

He said that UNHCR will defend the victim and the voiceless (ibid). He proclaimed to the world that UNHRC would do this “without fear or favour, and regardless of the name of the victim or the profile of the perpetrator” (ibid).

It was a good opening statement, filled with all the right words and concepts. Unfortunately, when it comes to Israel and the so-called ‘Palestinians’, the UNHRC has already revealed that its morality is bankrupt.

UNHRC has consistently favoured the ‘Palestinians’ over Israel. It has consistently marked the Israeli as guilty and the ‘Palestinian’ as innocent, regardless of actions taken by those ‘Palestinians’. As a result, the investigative and reporting standards of UNHCR simply do not meet even minimum standards for professionalism and fairness.

In this opening statement, Al Hussein suggested that Israel is guilty of violations committed by others in Gaza. Even as the session begins, he suggested that Israel’s “continued presence and expansion of Israeli settlements” are the cause of human rights violations (among other causes related to ‘settlements’) (ibid).

Think about what he’s saying. Israel’s very presence causes human rights violations. Its very existence (that ‘presence’, as distinguished from ‘settlements’) causes violations against the ‘Palestinian people’. Its very existence is, in other words, a moral wrong.

Al Hussein promises a principled moral leadership. It seems that, for Israel, his first moral principle will be, Israel has no right to exist. His second moral principle will be, Israel has no right to defend itself. His third moral principle will be, war crimes committed by other in Gaza will be blamed on Israel.

Where do you think that kind of moral leadership will take us?



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