Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How the UN lies

The UN "Human Rights" Commission, in its zeal to demonize Israel, has resorted to yet another bald-faced lie.

Buried in the latest report they've issued - saying that the accidental shelling of Beit Hanoun may be a war crime - they say flatly that Gaza is "occupied" by Israel.

As evidence, they bring a footnote:
Democratic Republic of Congo v. Uganda, International Court of Justice, 2005, paras. 173 174.

I could not find the full ICJ court ruling in this case online, but there is a comprehensive summary in an ICJ press release. Here is the relevant section:
The Court then considers the question as to whether or not Uganda was an occupying Power in the parts of the Congolese territory where its troops were present at the relevant time. It observes that, under customary international law, territory is considered to be occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army, and that the occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised. In the present case, it has before it evidence sufficient to prove that Uganda established and exercised authority in Ituri (a new province created in June 1999 by the commander of the Ugandan forces in the DRC) as an occupying Power.

I did find part of Paragraph 173 mentioned above:
In order to reach a conclusion as to whether a State, the military forces of which are present on the territory of another State as a result of an intervention, is an "occupying Power" in the meaning of the term as understood in the jus in bello, the Court must examine whether there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the said authority was in fact established and exercised by the intervening State in the areas in question. In the present case the Court will need to satisfy itself that the Ugandan armed forces in the DRC were not only stationed in particular locations but also that they had substituted their own authority for that of the Congolese Government.

By the ICJ's definition, which is consistent with the Hague definition as well as the apparent Geneva definition, Israel is certainly not occupying Gaza! The reason that the ICJ recognizes parts of Congo under Ugandan occupation is because Uganda created the province and managed its day to day activities.

So when the UN is calling Gaza "occupied," it is consciously relying on a footnote in an irrelevant ICJ ruling as "proof," knowing that nobody will actually research this claim and call them on it. They are not only lying, but they are being doubly deceptive by obscuring the source for their statement. (And they have used this same ruse before. In that case they also buttressed their arguments by footnoting a paper written by a highly partisan Gaza advocacy group, and ignored any legal arguments made by others that show otherwise, thus again proving the UN's mendacity.)

The UNHRC is emotionally tied to the idea of Israeli "occupation," and they have no qualms about twisting the truth - and the law - in order to maintain that fiction. Conversely, while Hamas is unquestionably the effective controller of Gaza nowadays, the UN refuses to give them any legal responsibility for their war crimes, using the same bizarre reasoning that a country outside of Gaza that has partial control over one of its borders has more responsibility than the group that has seized day-to-day control, including the police, the schools, the hospitals and the judicial system.