Archive for the 'Flotilla Probe' Category

UN Palmer commission negates Human Rights Council on Israeli clash with IHH flotilla

It’s time now for the UN Human Rights Council to apologize for its laughably one-sided investigation into Israel’s May 2010 flotilla clash.

Recall that in September 2010, commission chair Desmond de Silva castigated UN Watch for daring to challenge his report’s failure to consider key facts, and famously declared: “Even if Bin Laden himself were on the Mavi Maramara, Israel’s blockade would still be illegal.”

Completely wrong, says a separate UN commission appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Read full report here. Headed by Sir Geoffrey Palmer, the former prime minister of New Zealand, the new commission of inquiry finds that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is lawful.

Continue reading ‘UN Palmer commission negates Human Rights Council on Israeli clash with IHH flotilla’

UN Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon calls nations to “discourage flotillas”

“The Secretary-General is also following with concern media reports of potential new flotillas to Gaza that can provoke unnecessary confrontations. The Secretary-General calls on all Governments concerned to use their influence to discourage such flotillas, which carry the potential for escalation. He further calls on all to act responsibly to avoid any violent incident.”

(article 21 in: Briefing to the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, by Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, 19 May 2011)

Goldstone and the Guerilla Flotilla: An Emerging Pattern

Remarks of Trevor S. Norwitz
Delivered to the Lawfare Project Conference on October 5, 2010,
“Lawfare: Shared Implications for the U.S. and Israel.”
Published here by UN Watch by permission of the author.
 

One of the most troubling manifestations of Lawfare today is the increasing abuse of the instruments of international law, specifically to delegitimize and demonize one country (Israel) and to embarrass and weaken another (America).

I thought I would talk today about the latest contribution of the United Nations “Human Rights” Council to this phenomenon, namely its report on what might be called the Guerilla Flotilla (or, if you prefer, the Intifada Armada) which as you probably know was submitted to and accepted by that august body just a few days ago.  After that, I’d like to offer a few general thoughts on the topic of Lawfare. Continue reading ‘Goldstone and the Guerilla Flotilla: An Emerging Pattern’

U.N. Flotilla Probe: “Even If Bin Laden Himself Were on Ship, Israel’s Blockade Still Illegal”

 

NGO: U.N. Probe Ignored Evidence on Islamist Passengers’ Bid for ‘Martyrdom’

GENEVA, Sept. 28 – The U.N. commission into Israel’s May 31 flotilla clash declared during a U.N. Human Rights Council debate today that “even if Bin Laden himself were on the Mavi Maramara, Israel’s blockade would still be illegal.”

The statement was made by commissioner Desmond de Silva in response to questions posed in the council plenary by the Geneva-based UN Watch as to why the probe ignored voluminous evidence it submitted regarding the stated intentions of the Islamist flotilla members to physically confront Israel and become “Shahids,” or martyrs. (See below for statement and response from UN flotilla commission.)

The chair of the flotilla probe, Judge Karl T. Hudson-Phillips, said that he had never heard the term “Shahid” before. However, he insisted that, in any event, the intentions of the IHH activists carried no legal relevance. Continue reading ‘U.N. Flotilla Probe: “Even If Bin Laden Himself Were on Ship, Israel’s Blockade Still Illegal”’

U.N. Flotilla Debate: Hillel Neuer on English-language Russian TV

Watch video here

From Russia Today:

Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, told RT that the results of the recent UN report on the flotilla incident were pre-determined.

“This report was determined in advance, the Human Rights Council held an emergency session only a day or two after the flotilla incident happened,” Neuer said. “They declared Israel guilty of ‘an outrageous attack’, so the outcome was entirely pre-determined, and this is not something that’s exceptional.”

“In fact, Mary Robinson, who was the UN rights chief, said the Human Rights Council has a pattern of acting politically and not for human rights,” Hillel Neuer added. “Let’s remember who the membership is – Saudi Arabia, China, Colonel Gaddafi of Libya is now a member of the Human Rights Council. This is not a body that cares about human rights. This is a body that is political, that is engaged in a constant campaign to de-legitimize Israel, and human rights is the last thing on the minds of members like Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Libya.”

Background on today’s UN Human Right Council Flotilla Report

Geneva, Sept. 27 – The credibility of today’s UN Human Rights Council report on the May 31 flotilla incident is marred by a predetermined verdict, said UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights organization based in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The mandate of the probe violated due process and objectivity by presuming Israeli guilt from the outset,” said Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director. “It’s another example of what former UN rights chief Mary Robinson recently described as the unfortunate and regrettable practice by the council to adopt resolutions guided not by human rights but by politics.” [See Note 1]

According to Neuer, “by declaring Israel guilty before any facts were even collected, the resolution tainted the mission with prejudicial bias, and contravened the UN’s own Declaration on Fact Finding, which requires objectivity and impartiality.”

“It speaks volumes that Khaled Mashaal, the leader of the Hamas terrorist group, asked for this probe-literally for the council to create ‘another Goldstone report’-while the Palestinian Authority actually opposed it,” said Neuer.

“The perception of the council’s one-sided approach and lack of credibility is so severe that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s office in New York has completely ignored this probe in seeking to establish their own.”

“Tragically, rather than contribute to defusing the Arab-Israeli conflict and bringing people together with an objective, human rights approach, the council has played a divisive role with inflammatory statements that only increase frictions,” said Neuer.

Background on Resolution HRC 14/1 Establishing the Probe:

The Resolution: Barely 48 hours after the incident, the probe was created by a June 2, 2010 council resolution, initiated by the council’s Islamic and Arab groups of states, that condemned Israel “in the strongest terms” as guilty of committing an “outrageous attack” on the flotilla. Despite video evidence already available at the time, the resolution omitted any reference to the beating of Israeli soldiers by Turkish IHH militants brandishing knives, axes and metal rods, and of their televised admissions to seeking Jihad and martyrdom.

Who Voted For It: Those countries voting in favor of the resolution included China, Cuba, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Russia. The U.S., Italy and Netherlands voted against it. France, Britain, Japan, Belgium, Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine, South Korea, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Zambia, and Madagacar all abstained or deliberately chose to absent themselves.

Hamas Called for Probe: As the Human Rights Council was meeting for its urgent debate on the flotilla, Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal demanded the creation of a probe like the council’s 2009 Goldstone Report.[2]

Addressing a crowd of masses in the Yemeni capital of Sana on June 1, Mashal accused Israel of committing serious crimes against the flotilla and urged the international community not to let the Jewish state escape punishment. Mashaal congratulated “all the countries and nations which stood by our side.”[3]

“We need a new ‘Goldstone report,’ which will condemn Israel,” said Mashaal. “In addition, (Israeli Defense Minister Ehud) Barak, (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and all the Zionist leaders must be put on trail for being war criminals.” Mashaal thanked the sail’s participants and Turkey, and called on all Arab countries to adopt a similar policy to the one taken by Ankara against Israel.[4]

Hamas has now praised the final report.

Palestinian Authority Opposed It: According to the Electronic Intifada news website, the Palestinian Authority actively sought to frustrate the Human Rights Council’s establishment of the probe, because its officials understood that it would strengthen Hamas, emboldening extremists over moderates.[5]



Notes: 

[1] See Mary Robinson quote here, from Geneva’s Le Temps, Feb. 4, 2009.

[2] Roee Nahmias, “Mashal wants Goldstone report on sail,” Ynet, June 1, 2010.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

5] Asa Winstanley, “Exclusive: Leaked documents show PA undermined Turkey’s push for UN flotilla probe,” The Electronic Intifada, 22 June 2010, at http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11350.shtml.

Submitted Testimony Disregarded by the UN Human Rights Council’s Flotilla Probe

In a 17 September 2010 communication to UN Watch, the UN Human Rights Council flotilla probe stated that “all the information that [was] made available through UN Watch has been studied by the fact-finding mission.” In fact, however, with one exception, the 40-plus items below were entirely ignored by the inquiry and its report.

Continue reading ‘Submitted Testimony Disregarded by the UN Human Rights Council’s Flotilla Probe’

HRC flotilla probe will conduct investigation “on the ground,” or sea

Human Rights Council President Sihasak Phuangketkeow said the Gaza flotilla fact-finding mission will conduct its investigation “on the ground,” which would in fact be the sea as noted by an AP reporter during a press conference held in Geneva last week. To laughter, Sihasak said, “This is an investigation. If they don’t see the site then maybe they won’t come to the conclusions of what actually happened.”

Sihasak also called the mission “important to the credibility of the Council.” The three member committee was set up following a resolution passed by the Human Rights Council, which “condemns in the strongest terms the outrageous attack by the Israeli forces.” The resolution was passed by a wide majority at the June session of the Human Rights Council. The committee is expected to present its report as mandated by the resolution at the September session.Israeli commandos stormed the leading ship of a flotilla attempting to breach Israel’s maritime blockade 65 km off the coast of the Gaza strip on the afternoon of May 31. This prompted both the Human Rights Council to hold a special sitting and set up an investigative inquiry on the same day. The three member committee appointed by Council President Sihasak is comprised of Carl Hudson-Phillips from Trinidad Tobago, Desmond Da Silva from UK, and Mary Shanthi Dairiam from Malaysia. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon formed a separate committee.

When probed by journalists about the need for such a mission, Sihasak repeatedly defended the Council’s mission as necessary and distinct from the Secretary-General’s panel. He claimed it does not duplicate the Secretary-General’s mission and is the Council’s rightful duty to respond to incidents of perceived violations.

A reporter from Reuters pointedly asked whether Sihasak as HRC President will ensure that the Council launches investigations into other perceived violations with many more casualties, given that it has thus far focused most of its concrete actions on Israel. Sihasak demurred and said that he hopes the Council will take “an even-handed approach in dealing with these situations.” He added, “My personal belief and philosophy is that the Council for its credibility has to show a degree of even-handedness involving situations of violations of human rights.” This is expected to be one of the central issues of the 2011 review of the Human Rights Council.

The reporter from AP asked whether a similar mission by a subsidiary body of the United Nations subverts and insults the Secetary-General, who has made clear on several occasions that his mission is the primary investigation by the United Nations into the incident. A reporter from Voice of America also asked whether Sihasak felt insulted that Israel has chosen to cooperate with the Secretary General but not the Council to which he responded that he merely hopes Israel will choose to cooperate with both mandates.

Sihasak claimed that the two missions do not overlap, noting that the Council’s mandate focuses on the incident specifically and will investigate violations whereas the Secretary-General’s panel will consider the context of the event as well as the broader incidents surrounding the attack. Sihasak refrained from calling the mission more narrow, but did admit that the Council’s mission will not consider the broader context of the incident. “We just want to establish the facts,” he said.

To listen to a recording of the press conference, click here.

US implies international community should ignore ‘overlapping’ UN rights council flotilla probe

Today’s statement below from the U.S. implies that the UN Human Rights Council probe on the flotilla — established on June 2nd, its members named on July 24, and due to report in September  — should be ignored by the international community.

____________________

August 2, 2010 – Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on Secretary General Ban’s Panel Concerning the May 31 Flotilla Incident

The United States welcomes today’s announcement by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the establishment of a Panel regarding the incident of May 31st.   We thank both governments for the constructive and cooperative spirit they have shown and the Secretary General for his leadership and determination. The Panel, which has the support of both Israel and Turkey, will receive and review the reports of each government’s national investigation into the incident and make recommendations as to how to avoid such incidents in the future.  This Panel is not a substitute for those national investigations.  It complements them, affording Israel and Turkey the opportunity to present the conclusions of their investigations to the international community.  The focus of the Panel is appropriately on the future and on preventing such incidents from recurring.  The United States also hopes that the Panel can serve as a vehicle to enable Israel and Turkey to move beyond the recent strains in their relationship and repair their strong historic ties. 

The United States expects that the Panel will operate in a transparent and credible manner and that its work will be the primary method for the international community to review the incident, obviating the need for any overlapping international inquiries.  The United States welcomes the naming of the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Geoffrey Palmer, as Chair and the outgoing President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, as Vice-Chair. We look forward to the announcement of the two additional members from Israel and Turkey.

Watchdog: U.N. Flotilla Probe Marred by Predetermined Verdict

Geneva, July 23 - After nearly two months where no credible figure would take the job, the UN Human Rights Council today named three commissioners to its inquiry on Israeli actions during the May 31 flotilla incident, but the probe’s credibility is marred by a predetermined verdict, said UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights organization based in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The mandate of the probe violates due process and objectivity by presuming Israeli guilt from the outset,” said Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director. “It’s another example of what former UN rights chief Mary Robinson recently described as the unfortunate and regrettable practice by the council to adopt resolutions guided not by human rights but by politics.”[See Note 1]

According to Neuer, “by declaring Israel guilty before any facts were even collected, the resolution taints the mission with prejudicial bias, and contravenes the UN’s own Declaration on Fact Finding, which requires objectivity and impartiality.” Continue reading ‘Watchdog: U.N. Flotilla Probe Marred by Predetermined Verdict’

Watchdog: New U.N. Flotilla Probe Marred by Predetermined Verdict

Backgrounder on HRC Resolution 14/1

Geneva, July 7 - The UN Human Rights Council is reportedly naming commissioners to its inquiry on Israeli actions during the May 31 flotilla incident, but the probe’s credibility is marred by a predetermined verdict, said UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights organization based in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The mandate of the probe violates due process and objectivity by presuming Israeli guilt from the outset,” said Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director. “It’s another example of what former UN rights chief Mary Robinson recently described as the unfortunate and regrettable practice by the council to adopt resolutions guided not by human rights but by politics.”[See Note 1]

According to Neuer, “by declaring Israel guilty before any facts were even collected, the resolution taints the mission with prejudicial bias, and contravenes the UN’s own Declaration on Fact Finding, which requires objectivity and impartiality.” Continue reading ‘Watchdog: New U.N. Flotilla Probe Marred by Predetermined Verdict’