Tuesday, September 21, 2010

UNHRC fawns over the PA's response to Goldstone

The UN Human Rights Council came out with a report judging the respective merits of the responses by Israel, the PA and Hamas to the Goldstone Report.

It wasn't too terrible in judging Israel's responses, given that it is the UNHRC we are talking about here. They had some good things to say but were still unconvinced how independent the Israeli investigators were and they had other issues like Israel not following up with Arab complainants about the status of the investigation.

And, to their credit, they politely implied that the Hamas investigation was worthless:
86. The Committee also has concerns related to the impartiality of the second Gaza  Committee’s investigations. The report did not seriously address the recommendations by the Fact-Finding Mission to the de facto Gaza authorities....This gives the impression that the investigations sought to deflect attention from the alleged violations of IHL and IHRL by the de facto Gaza authorities and raises concerns about their credibility and genuineness.

87. Moreover, some aspects of the report sought to explain away allegations of serious violations of IHL. For example, the second Gaza Committee suggested that the unavailability of modern military technology could not preclude armed groups from defending themselves. This implicitly acknowledges the truth of the allegations in the FFM report that armed groups violated IHL by launching weapons at Israel that were incapable of striking precise targets, while seeking to justify the violation and absolve the perpetrators.
(I cannot find a copy of the Hamas "investigation," the UN did not publish it as they did the others.)

But the UNHRC absolutely loved the PA's investigation.

70. The Committee notes that the Independent Investigation Commission undertook  ndependent and impartial investigations in a comprehensive manner that squarely addressed the  allegations in the FFM report.

72. Moreover, its report demonstrates that it was thorough. In the elaboration of its methods of work, the Commission set out in detail the process it had followed to arrive at its conclusions. The fact that the Commission was able to undertake some 100 hearings in relation to each of the alleged violations illustrates the comprehensiveness of its work. The Commission met governmental representatives accused of violations, including high-level officials. The steps taken to protect witnesses and safeguard the information it obtained demonstrate its professionalism.
While the PA commission did indeed investigate even the PA itself, it can hardly be considered impartial.

As I posted in August, the PA commission tried to justify Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians by saying that such rockets "cannot be considered a violation of international humanitarian law, per se." Why does the UNHRC notice Hamas' justification for rocket fire and yet ignore the exact same justification done by the PA commission?

Beyond that, the PA commission went way beyond investigations and into squarely insulting Israel multiple times. Here is an example of the PA commission's "impartiality":
The inference from such conduct can only be either that the Palestinians are considered by their occupier as lesser human beings, or that whatever harm is inflicted upon them, no matter how indiscriminate, excessive and disproportionate, is justifiable on the basis of Israel’s exceptionalism and granted impunity.
Is it the purpose of a fact finding commission to judge parties that are not within the scope of its investigations?

The UNHRC shows yet again that even when it tries to appear unbiased, it fails.