Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Yesterday, the UN released its latest Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, by Makarim Wibisono (Richard Falks' replacement.)

Wibisono is known to have made anti-Israel statements in the past.

The report is not nearly as over the top as Falk's reports had been, to be sure. It is pretty much a repeat of things said at the UN and by the OCHA-OPT, relying on Palestinian Arab NGOs for some information.

Twice the report quotes the UN's OCHA-OPT as saying that "The information recorded and provided by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) showed that 2,256 Palestinians were killed, of whom 1,563 were civilians, including 538 children." with a small footnote saying "Verification continues." Yet those numbers have not changed since the war, indicating that no one at OCHA-OPT really cares to revisit the false statistics that have been widely quoted worldwide as fact.

Even though many of those same "civilians" were shown to be terrorists by the Meir Amit Center.

But, surprisingly, the report does mention that!

According to OHCHR, some 69 per cent of the Palestinians killed during the hostilities in Gaza were civilians. An Israeli organization compiling its own statistics on Palestinian fatalities has so far found the Palestinian civilian to combatant casualty ratio to be somewhat lower, at 48 per cent*.

*This ratio is based on 54 per cent of verified fatalities. See Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, “Examination of the names of the Palestinians killed in Operation Protective Edge”, 1 December 2014.
That in itself is a marked contrast to the bilious, one sided reports from Richard Falk, who would parrot the most absurd anti-Israel accusations by the most unreliable NGOs without even bothering to find out Israel's side of the story.

This is not to say that the report is unbiased. It is very biased. It doesn't mention Hamas' tunnels once, even though they were the main target of Israeli operations - and they were built under many of the homes that the IDF destroyed, unfortunately killing civilians. In fact, it barely mentions Hamas. It makes false assumptions about international law.

It is not quite sure if Hamas even fired rockets to begin with, saying only that "thousands of indiscriminate rockets were reportedly fired by Palestinian armed groups from Gaza."

The report that supposedly looks at human rights in the territories doesn't mention Hamas' use of human shields, of public executions, of booby-trapping civilian buildings, of placing military targets in medical facilities, or any of the many Hamas actions that directly violated Gaza civilians' human rights and international law.

While the UNHRC remains implacably anti-Israel, and this report shows that, it seems that it has been clearly stung by many of the criticisms that have been leveled against it so it is making some cosmetic changes to soften its reports.

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