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UN gathers legal experts to plan campaign against Israel

roundtable

A UN committee on Palestinian rights today wrapped up a 2-day conference in Geneva where legal experts and a Palestinian cabinet minister exchanged plans on waging a legal campaign against Israel in international courts and organizations.

Speakers at the “Roundtable on Legal Aspects of the Question of Palestine,” included top UN officials in Geneva; Issa Qaraqe, the Palestinian Authority Minister for Prisoners’ Affairs, who made the outrageous allegation that Israeli pharmaceutical companies conducted experiments on over 1,000 Palestinian detainees; and pro-Iranian law professor William Schabas, who recently participated in the “Russell Tribunal,” a kangaroo court against Israel.

The gathering was organized by the UN’s “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.”

The 25-nation committee was created in November 1975, on the same day that the General Assembly adopted the notorious Zionism is Racism resolution.

According to the program, they met to discuss “the legal status of Palestinian political prisoners and detainees under international law,” and “the general legal implications of Palestine’s admission to the United Nations as an Observer State.”

However, behind this façade, the meeting was in reality a gathering to promote lawfare and the global campaign of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against Israel, under the seemingly neutral auspices of the UN.

Delegates discussed how to pressure corporations to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel in a  session entitled “Available legal mechanisms to ensure compliance with international law and Third Party responsibility.”

A related session focused on how to use the International Court of Justice.  During the part entitled “The State of Palestine and International Courts,” delegates examined how to file complaints against Israel in international courts.

Finally, delegates discussed the Palestinian drive for full membership at the UN, and membership in UN specialized agencies and other global organizations.

Mr. Qaraqe made several recommendations, including that:

  • The General Assembly should set up a special court to examine crimes by Israel against Palestinian prisoners;
  • An advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice should be sought on the status of Palestinian prisoners in international law;
  • Creation of a fact-finding mission composed of 15 members of the Geneva Conventions to investigate the situation of Palestinian prisoners.

Palestine’s possible accession to the Rome Statute should further be considered as a step towards prosecuting Israel for crimes against Palestinian prisoners, the Ramallah politician added.

Correction: On William Schabas and Richard Goldstone

UN Watch’s recent briefing listed international law scholar William Schabas among those who had hailed Richard Goldstone as a saint after his UN report, only to turn on him when he retracted it.

In response, Professor Schabas states as follows: “I have never turned on my good friend Richard Goldstone, ‘with a vengeance’ or otherwise.” We have corrected the briefing and regret the error.

Indeed, a closer examination shows the  following. After the Goldstone Report was published, Schabas proclaimed that Goldstone “had better be on next year’s Nobel short list.” Schabas also shared his belief, on the same occasion, that Goldstone’s act of condemning alleged Israeli war crimes was performed “as a Jew.” “The world should be thankful that we have people like Richard Goldstone,” said Schabas. Continue reading ‘Correction: On William Schabas and Richard Goldstone’