Israeli leaders have said a UN report on last year’s Gaza war should be shelved after the Canadian professor heading the enquiry resigned in disgrace.
After news that Prof. William Schabas previously advised the PLO, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said appointing him to investigate Israel had been “like appointing Cain to investigate Abel”.
He joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in criticising the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which Lieberman called “the greatest hypocrites in international forums”.
Netanyahu, who could be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court if Israel is found to have committed war crimes in Gaza, blasted the UNHRC as biased against Israel.
“This is the same body that only in 2014 passed more resolutions against Israel than against Iran, Syria and North Korea combined,” he said.
Schabas, whose commission has now finished collecting evidence and will present its report on 23 March, alluded to a campaign to discredit him, saying his work on the committee “appears to have made me a huge target for malicious attacks”.
Israel launched its own internal investigations into the Gaza conflict, maintaining throughout that it acted in accordance with international law. It has refused to co-operate with any international investigation.
“This whole committee is not serious,” said ultra-nationalist leader Naftali Bennett. “It wrote its report in advance. The UNHRC only investigates Israel and not war crimes around the world, so we’re used to this.”
Yachad leader Eli Yishai added: “Schabas’ [resignation] is the only praiseworthy thing he’s done. Let’s hope he will be an example for the whole contemptible committee.”