Nitsana darshan-Leitner outlines the challenges Israel faces over the next few weeks from the United Nations while sitting in the Tel Aviv offices of Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center.
Her calm, almost tranquil demeanor defies the fierce opposition Israel has to face from both the UN Human Rights Council, as well as the three-member Commission of Inquiry [COI] that was appointed by the UN “investigate” in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, East Jerusalem and Israel any alleged violation of the international human rights law, as well any alleged violations and abuses of the international human rights laws up to and including April 13, 2021.
While Israel has had vigorous UN investigation in the past, the main distinction is that the current UN inquiry was created as a permanent probe to examine Israel’s IDF. The term of the commission was not decided.
Darshan-Leitner, who founded Shurat HaDin, explained that “the UN Human Rights Council Investigation is not coming from out of thin air”. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/israel-law-review It is linked to the developments at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
The 1998 Rome Statute created the ICC. The court is empowered by the Rome Statute to pursue people who have been found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity or crimes against humanity in addition to the crime of aggression. Israel initially supported the establishment of an international court. But there was concern that this court might be used against Israel. The US, Israel and many other countries have not signed or ratified the statute. Therefore, they aren’t legally bound to follow the rulings of the ICC.
In March 2021, Fatou Bensouda, the ICC prosecutor in The Hague, announced that she would be opening a war crimes probe against Israel and Hamas.
A decision by the International Court against Israel may have significant implications. A majority of European countries and Scandinavians are members and are legally bound to respect the court’s decisions. If the ICC could decide that IDF soldiers committed war crimes and/or crimes against humanity, anyone Israeli who served in various IDF military operations that would be traveling in countries which have been deemed members of the court like Canada, Australia and New Zealand are likely to be held indefinitely. Harsh economic sanctions could be imposed against the Jewish state and its banking sector.
Israel could be a target for sanctions, embargoes on weapons, and boycotts. El Al or other Israeli transporter could be prohibited from operating in certain countries.
Bensouda’s term ended as prosecutor in June 2021. He was replaced by Karim Khan Karim Khan, an experienced British barrister. Bensouda had 14 investigations that included eight active investigations. The new prosecutor was able take over all of them. Darshan Leitner explained how to the dismay of Palestinians the court classified items on the docket of his court as “in the process of preparation”. This polite way of describing the cases didn’t have the credibility or urgency that merited the court’s focus.
Darshan Leitner stated that “this caused a lot of anger to the Palestinian Authority.” “They couldn’t grasp the reasons behind their incredible efforts to reach the prosecutor in order to initiate an investigation have been thwarted,” Darshan-Leitner said.
The PA requested the establishment of a commission at the International Court of Justice in September 2021. This was to encourage Karim Khan’s decision to alter his opinion about the ICC’s probe of Israel.
Darshan Leitner claims that the PA has continued to accuse Israel for war crimes and apartheid since the beginning of time. The Amnesty International report, released in the beginning of February it in February, accused Israel of apartheid behavior in and outside the Green Line. The report said that Israel “has established and maintained an institution of oppression” against Palestinians and accused Israel of maintaining racial discrimination of Palestinians since 1948.
Darshan Leitner claims that the Palestinian demands against Israel have been centered on the International Criminal Court on two areas: IDF Military Operations and the issue of Israeli Settlements. These are they claim to be war crimes.
Karim Khan Karim Khan, the ICC prosecutor, is now being pressured by Palestinians to prioritize the probe of Israel in the context of the “apartheid” assertion, a new claim, that was not among the allegations that were examined in the preliminary inquiry which Bensouda was pursuing. The prosecutor says that “whatever is able to move the investigation forward is legitimate to them, and it doesn’t matter what it’s, or if its true.”
KARIM KHAN, new ICC prosecutor. (Credit: Michael Kooren/Reuters)
The UN’s commission of inquiry is the latest effort by the Palestinians for the tribunal at The Hague to be convinced. Navi Pillay, South Africa’s chief, is the leader of the three-member groupthat also includes Miloon Kathari (India), Chris Sidoti and Chris Sidoti.
According to Darshan-Leitner, Pillay, Kothari and Sidoti are well-known for their biases towards Israel.”All three have a documented past of actions and declarations about the same subjects they are tasked with investigating the matter,'” she says. “Pillay has accused Israel of apartheid and was the driving force behind the antisemitic Durban conferences. The other groups aren’t far in the same direction.”
Between February 28th and April 1 The UN Human Rights Council will hold its 49TH session (HRC49).
It is anticipated that the primary draw for the session is the release by the commission of inquiry of the report on Operation Guardian of the Walls. This refers to the Israeli operation in Gaza in response to the rockets launched at Israel by Hamas in May 2021. Shurat Hadin During this session, Israel will likely be accused of war crimes and apartheid, as well being accused of crimes against humanity.
Darshan Leitner stated that the State of Israel would not cooperate or be involved with the inquiry commission. Shurat HaDin, however, cannot afford to ignore the accusations likely to be made by the inquiry commission.
Darshan Leitner declares that there are two options to combat the Pillay commission. “One is the response to the material – answering the accusations of apartheid. The other is the personal perspective – focused on the lack impartiality of its leaders.”
She says that her previous experiences have shown that ShurathaDin and others won’t be able to convince Israel-haters who already have a negative view of Israel.
She suggests that Shurat HaDin could instead prove that all the members of the inquiry have a bias against Israel and that the UN will sacrifice its core values as fairness, fairness and sense of fairness in order to discredit Israel.
Darshan Leitner Darshan Leitner “We’re planning to launch an initiative calling for all COI Members to step down.” “We are planning to organize mass petitions that will take legal action against the COI, its member and all other individuals who assist this committee.”
Shurat haDin will also try to demonstrate that the PA rather than the State of Israel is, the main culprit in the violation of human rights. aviel darshan leitner “We are going to look through their laws and identify what we have learned about the discrimination against women, children and those belonging to the LGBTQ community, as well as their broken law system. Did you not know that PA law allows one to legally rape his wife? Shurat Hadin Marital rape is not an offense under their ‘advanced human-rights-friendly’ legislation.
“This is only a tiny instance of the ‘champions of human rights’ the UN is eager to help. While they accuse Israel – a true democratic state – of apartheid they promote a tyranny, that hasn’t had elections for 15 years, and which routinely violates human rights of its own people.”
Darshan Leitner asserts that Shurat HaDin is also going to reveal to the world the ways minorities living in Gaza and the PA are treated. “The fate of Christians living in Gaza and the PA territories is sealed,” she states. Their numbers are decreasing. Islamic extremists who call for the slaughter of “infidels” and who are not any better than ISIS figures , which are on the increase, are an Islamic extremists.
Israel Law Center Shurat HaDin’s chief believes Israel has made a number of mistakes in the handling of a UNHRC-previous commission of inquiry in 2009 headed by Richard Goldstone, South African jurist. Jerusalem refused cooperation with the Goldstone Commission in that scandalous episode. The Goldstone Commission was led by Richard Goldstone who was a South African jurist. However, the negative final report created great political tensions in Israel.
“While Israel did the right thing in refusing to assist or cooperate with the hateful witch-hunt based on Goldstone, I disagree that we played our hands properly. It’s not enough just to disregard the UNHRC and declare them as hateful and discriminatory. The government had to back its decision with a well-organized and proactive campaign to spread its own version of events and to defend itself against the antisemitic UNHRC.”This is the reason why an NGO like Shurat HaDin can play such a crucial role. She says we should be vocal, take legal actions and act when the government is stuck.”
Darshan Leitner attempts to fill in this gap. She summarizes the current situation, and states that the PA’s ultimate goal is to influence The Hague’s chief prosecutor. My goal is to expose the underlying principles of this commission, and to show the flaws in its ideology and how apartheid-related claims are wrong and are better suited to the PA. This will prove that the commission has no worth.
“If we do not take action on this, the result could be catastrophic. The prosecutor could be influenced and reconsider his decision. It will be a tragedy and it could alter the direction of justice. This can’t be allowed to occur.”