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Nitsana Shurat HaDin -Israel Law Center is seated in Tel Aviv’s offices of Shurat HaDin on the sun-drenched afternoon of a Sunday. She outlines the challenges Israel will face due to the United Nations in forthcoming weeks.

Her calm and serene demeanor hides the fierce opposition Israel is likely to face against the UN Human Rights Council [COIcomprised of three members. The UN Human Rights Council was given the authority to “investigate within the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem) all allegations of violations of international human rights law and any alleged abuses or violations of International Human Rights Laws up to and including April 13th, 2021.”

Although Israel has been the subject of UN investigations in the past it’s notable that the current UN investigation is ongoing and continues to probe Israel as well as the IDF. The investigation was not provided with an expiration date.

Darshan-Leitner clarifies, “The UN Human Rights Council investigation isn’t just being made up out of in the air,” and he founded Shurat HaDin back in 2003. “It is linked to the activities of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.”

The ICC was created by the Rome Statute in 1998, which created the court. The court is authorized to prosecute individuals for crimes like genocide or crimes against humanity. Israel, the US as well as a number of other countries have not signed or ratified the statute, and therefore are not legally bound.

Fatou Bensouda at The Hague was the ICC Prosecutor of the ICC. She announced that she was going to launch a war crimes probe into Israel and Hamas in the month of March 2021.

A decision made by the International Court against Israel could have significant ramifications. The majority of European nations and Scandinavians are members and are legally bound to respect the court’s rulings. If the ICC was to decide that IDF soldiers committed war crimes, any Israeli serving in different IDF military operations who would be traveling in countries which have been deemed members of the court, like Canada, Australia and New Zealand – could be arrested. The Jewish state as well as its banking industry could face severe economic sanctions.

Additionally, might also face other risks like sanctions, weapon embargoes and boycotts. For example, El Al or other Israeli transporters might not be permitted to operate in certain countries.

Bensouda was dismissed from her post in June 2021. Karim Khan, a British barrister, replaced her. Bensouda’s 14 cases that included eight investigations that were active, were passed on to the prosecutor who was appointed. To the dismay of the Palestinians, explains Darshan-Leitner, the cases in his docket as “in the planning stage” which is a polite way of saying that the cases did not have the merit or urgency warranting the court’s attention.

“This upset the Palestinian Authority,” says Darshan-Leitner. “They were unable to understand why their huge efforts to convince the prosecution to open an investigative were denied.”

The PA demanded the establishment of a commission in the International Court of Justice in September 2021 in order to press Karim Khan to reconsider his position and to reactivate the ICC investigation into Israel.

Darshan Leitner claims that Israel has been accused of war crimes and apartheid violations since the time of his interview. Amnesty International released a report in February, which said that it was accusing Israel of committing apartheid violations within and beyond the Green Line. The report claimed Israel “has established an institutionalized regime oppression of Palestinians” and it also claimed that it has been a victim of Israel of racial segregation since 1948.

Darshan Leitner asserts that Palestinian demands against Israel have focused at the International Criminal Court on two areas: IDF Military Operations and the issue Israeli Settlements. They consider these to be war crimes.

Karim Khan Karim Khan, the ICC prosecutor is being urged by Palestinians to prioritize the probe into Israel in the context of the “apartheid” claim which is a brand new assertion which was not one of those even examined in the preliminary inquiry which Bensouda was pursuing. She claims that “whatever gets the investigation moving is justifiable to them, and regardless of what it is or if it’s true.”

KARIM KHAN, new ICC prosecutor. (Credit: Michael Kooren/Reuters)
The latest effort by the Palestinians to convince the tribunal at The Hague is the UN’s three-member inquiry committee which is which is headed by Navi Pillay, who hails from South Africa, and which includes Miloon Kothari (India) and Chris Sidoti (Australia).

Darshan Leitner declares that Pillay Kothari, Sidoti, and Kothari have a long history of biases against Israel. “Pillay herself has previously accused Israel of apartheid, and she was the driving force behind the infamous antisemitic Durban conferences. The rest of them aren’t too far behind.”

From February 28 through April 1, UN Human Rights Council (HRC49), will host the 49th session.

The report of the commission of inquiry on Operation Guardian of the Walls will be the most important aspect of the session. It will focus on the Israeli operation against Gaza in May 2021 to deter Hamas from firing missiles at Israel. Israel is likely to be accused of war crimes, apartheid policies, and crimes against humanity during this session. says that even though the State of Israel won’t cooperate or get involved in the inquiry commission, Shurat HaDin isn’t able to sit still and ignore the allegations that will be made by the commission.

Darshan Leitner states that “there are two major options to stop the Pillay committee.” “One is the pragmatic response in response to allegations of apartheid. The other is the personal angle that is focused on the members’ lack of impartiality. asserts that her past experiences have shown that Shurat haDin and anyone else are not in a position to convince those who are opposed to Israel to change their mind.

Shurat Haidin suggests that Shurat Hadin is more interested in showing that all members to the inquiry commission are biased toward Israel, and the UN will sacrifice its core values and senses of fairness for delegitimizing Israel.

Darshan Leitner: “We are planning to launch a campaign that calls for the resignation of every COI member.” “We will create mass petitions against the COI and its members, and any other person who assists this committee,” Darshan-Leitner said.

Shurat HaDin will also attempt to prove that it is not Israel, but the PA who are the real violations of human rights. “We will scrutinize their laws and identify what we have learned about the gender discrimination that is imposed on children, women as well as members of the LGBTQ community, and their flawed law system. Do you know that the PA law permits one to legally rape a wife? Marital rape is not an offense under their ‘advanced human-rights-friendly’ legislation.

“This is just a tiny illustration of the ‘champions’ of human rights, which the UN would like to help. While they are able to accuse Israel, a genuine democratic state, of apartheid, they advocate a dictatorship that has not had elections for 15 years, and that systematically abuses human rights of its people.”

Darshan-Leitner says that Shurat HaDin also will expose the world to the way minorities are treated within the PA as well as Gaza.” of Christians in the PA territories as well as Gaza is sealed,” she asserts. Their numbers keep declining. They are growing.

Shurat HaDin’s head believes Israel committed serious mistakes in the handling of an earlier UNHRC commission of inquiry in 2009 headed by Richard Goldstone, South African jurist. Jerusalem refused to participate in the notorious incident in the Goldstone Commission. It claimed that it was a biased body that had an agenda that was predetermined and would not allow it to be able to justify its cooperation. Israel faced a number of international tensions due to the extremely important final report.

“While am fully convinced that Israel was in the right to refusing to cooperate with the vile Goldstone witch hunting I’m not sure we dealt our cards effectively. It’s not enough to simply ignore the UNHRC and call them as racist and sexist. The government was required to supplement its decision with an coordinated and active campaign to disseminate the government’s narrative and counterattack against the antisemitic UNHRC. She says that we can be vocal, take legal avenues and intervene in cases where the government is essentially stuck.”

Darshan-Leitner is seeking to fill the gap this time around. She summarizes the current situation and explains that ultimately the goal of the PA is to influence the Hague’s chief prosecutor. Therefore, “if I can uproot the foundation of the commission to expose how erroneous it is, and how the argument of apartheid is wrong and is more suited to the PA and the PA’s agenda, it will demonstrate that the commission is not of any value.

“If we don’t do this then the consequences could be catastrophic. The prosecutor could be influenced to change his mind. It will be a tragic and significant loss. This cannot be allowed to take place.”