Anticipating that a United Nations commission was on the verge of releasing a report casting blame on Israel's “perpetual occupation” for the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, one Israeli organization preempted it with a symbolic rally in Geneva.
Israel Defense Forces soldiers and volunteers dressed as Hamas members wearing keffiyehs and ski masks to “thank” the UN for its support of terrorists in the rally organized by Shurat HaDin Law Center.
“They share the same goal,” Shurat HaDin President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said of terrorists and the UN commission. “The difference between Hamas and the United Nations Human Rights Council is that the Council attacks Israel with fake reports and blood libels and the terrorists use rockets and missiles.”
No sooner was the rally underway in Geneva then the Pillay Commission released its report, which was not expected today.
In an interview with ALL ISRAEL NEWS from Geneva, Darshan-Leitner said that the UN has a track record of protecting Hamas while bashing Israel and that her organization illustrated this by dressing as terrorists who came to thank the UN.
“We wanted to make a point that when the report comes out that it actually comes from an ally of those who want to destroy Israel,” she said. “When we compare this to a terror organization, the Commission is undermining that Israel has a right to exist, exactly like the terrorists.”
“The end goal is the same – to destroy the Jewish state.”
The purpose of the rally “ is to show [the Commission] is totally biased and they just come with a prejudice against Israel,” Darshan-Leitner said “They’ve accused Israel of war crimes before.”
Ultimately, the Commission could declare Israel an apartheid state – a claim she contends is impossible as long as there are Arabs serving as Supreme Court justices, Knesset members, doctors, lawyers, actors and athletes in Israeli society.
“People should bear in mind the committee is biased,” she said. “It is not an objective committee and, therefore, it should treat its report accordingly.”
Shurat HaDin released a statement before the rally accusing the Pillay Commission of taking “its anti-Israel hostility to new extremes.” The Commission was established after the 11-day war between Israel and terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip in May 2021.
“The new COI unfairly directs all its allegations against Israel and the IDF while turning a blind eye to the intentional targeting and murder of Israeli civilians by the Islamic terrorist group,” the statement said.
Darshan-Leitner said “the UN is not going to change, the Human Rights Council is not going to change, the report is not going to change, but the goal is to discredit the report.”
“We know the report, we know the results.”
WHAT ARE THE CONTENTS OF THE REPORT?
The rally took place outside UN headquarters on Tuesday at noon – and the 18-page report was released as it was ending. The New Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, will present its findings on June 14.
Israel Defense Forces reservists protest outside the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva dressed as Hamas terrorists.— Shurat HaDin - שורת הדין (@ShuratHaDin) June 7, 2022
“The UNHRC needs to be shut down and the Pillay Report canceled. Both Hamas & the UNHRC have the same goal - the destruction of the Jewish state.” pic.twitter.com/AVIfpv3pgZ
According to an initial news release, “The continued occupation by Israel of Palestinian territory and discrimination against Palestinians are the key root causes of the recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict in the region.”
“The Commission also noted that impunity is feeding increased resentment among the Palestinian people. It identified forced displacement, threats of forced displacement, demolitions, settlement construction and expansion, settler violence, and the blockade of Gaza as contributing factors to recurring cycles of violence,” the release said.
Navanethem Pillay, chair of the Commission, said that “the underlying root causes” of the problems fall “overwhelmingly” on Israel, “which we have taken as an indicator of the asymmetrical nature of the conflict and the reality of one State occupying the other.”
Pillay added that Israel has violated international humanitarian and human rights law and has skirted accountability.
“It is this lack of implementation coupled with a sense of impunity, clear evidence that Israel has no intention of ending the occupation, and the persistent discrimination against Palestinians that lies at the heart of the systematic recurrence of violations in both the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel,” she said.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry pushed back, calling the Commission a “waste of money” and a “witch hunt.”
“It is 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. The report 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 Foreign Ministry said.
“The Commission of Inquiry ignored the real reasons that led Israel to defend its citizens against the murderous terrorist organizations that are committing a double war crime: firing at Israeli civilians from within civilian areas in the Gaza Strip.”
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
Darshan-Leitner doesn’t expect to impact the UN report, but her organization aims to delegitimize the Commission and alldiscredit its findings.
“We are going to pressure the United States because the U.S. rejoined the Human Rights Council after President [Donald] Trump pulled out from them,” Darshan-Leitner said. “Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it is better to defend U.S. allies from inside rather than staying outside.”
“So now is the time to stand up for Israel.”
While the Commission’s report has no teeth, Darshan-Leitner fears that the next step is pushing the case against Israel to the forefront of the International Criminal Court (ICC) docket in the Hague.
“Then there will be sanctions against IDF soldiers,” she said. “This is the effect of the report, the UN Human Rights Council doesn’t have ways to enforce their decision, but it has a trickle down effect to force other bodies to increase their attacks against Israel.”
“The main threatening challenge is the ICC or the [UN] Security Council. Those are the two bodies that Israel should be concerned about.”
Nicole Jansezian was the news editor and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS.