Investigate This

Friends, this week the UN Human Rights Commission began to investigate Israel for War Crimes committed in Gaza. Whatever you think of this decision, allow me to explain two things, one thing about the UN and one about Hamas. Before I begin, or I’m accused of being duplicitous, this week Jon Snow posted a video which I described as a “politically motivated monologue disguised as a humanitarian appeal”. This post will be an appeal, I am not disguising this. But I do ask you, whatever your current opinions on the Middle East, not to switch off but to read until the end of this post in the interests of education, dialogue, and Palestinian wellbeing.

The UN Human Rights Commission is made up of 47 member states, not admitted with any relevance to their own human rights records but instead due to their geographical location. Each region of the world has a number of seats. Currently, countries such as China, Congo, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia sit on the UN Human Rights Council.

Last year, an official UN translator who didn’t realise her microphone was on, said “10 resolutions against Israel in Palestine, there’s got to be something up no? There’s loads of other really bad shit going on and nobody says anything.” Now, of course, this person’s expertise is in translation and not necessarily the safeguarding of Human Rights around the world, however being based in the UN suggests she is not only educated but understands the wider actions, or inactions, of the UN Human Rights Council. There is an organisation called UN Watch which was founded in 1993 with the mission of monitoring the UN according to the principles of ITS OWN charter. Chief Executive of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer, said in a TV interview in December 2013 “In the General Assembly in New York there are 22 resolutions this year that single out Israel, and only four on the REST OF THE WORLD combined. It’s absurd.” He continues “One of the resolutions this year was sponsored by Syria, which has gassed its own people and killed 100,000 of its own people. The resolution condemning Israel was sponsored by Syria, and you had the Syrian leader accusing Israel of being like Nazi Germany, so really things are upside down.” Do we really believe that 82% of human rights abuses across the entire planet committed in 2013 were committed by Israel, a country smaller than Wales? That’s for you to think about and answer.

The UN Human Rights Council is the closest thing we have to a legitimate body whose concern is ensuring every person in the world has their own human rights respected, but that does not mean it is fit for purpose. The more time these member states can spend condemning other countries, the less time is remaining for anybody to investigate their own numerous shortcomings. It is also not controversial to suggest that any decisions made in the UN are influenced by back-room deals and trade offs for support. We, as citizens of this world, are entrusting China and Russia to safeguard Human Rights. Think about this for a second. It’s about as ludicrous as Diego Maradonna fronting an anti-drugs campaign, which by the way he did whilst playing for Napoli and being high-as-a-kite on Cocaine. It’s about as ludicrous as asking Rolf Harris to front a campaign against child abuse, which by the way he did on national TV in 1985 called ‘Kids Can Say No’. For those unfamiliar with Rolf Harris, the staple of our childhood, he is currently in prison for child abuse. Anyway…

We can not and should not try to change that this body of member states is now investigating Israel for War Crimes. But what we can do is ask why Hamas are not being subjected to the same investigation. We can ask why there are seemingly horrendous double standards involved in this process. Hamas are internationally defined as a terrorist organisation. I do not consider them to be a terrorist organisation due to an international definition, I consider them to be a terrorist organisation as they are dedicated to murdering innocent civilians in order to fulfil political and religious objectives. It is widely accepted, and has been proven beyond reasonable doubt, that Hamas are indiscriminately firing missiles at Israel, with the intention to cause maximum death and devastation – a war crime. Hamas are using Palestinian civilians as human shields – a war crime. Hamas are hijacking civilian infrastructure for terrorist purposes – a war crime. Hamas are infiltrating Israel through tunnels, intending to commit a massacre or abduct Israelis – a war crime. Hamas are diverting humanitarian aid for military purposes – a war crime. Hamas are using ambulances for military purposes – a war crime. Hamas are employing child soldiers as suicide bombers – a war crime. Hamas are stopping Palestinians from reaching urgent medical assistance – a war crime.

Friends, the only way this horrendous cycle of violence and pain will ever stop is if we acknowledge both sides of an argument. This post does not claim that Israel are guilt-free, it does not absolve Israel from any wrongdoing and it makes no claim about whether Israel have committed war crimes or not. What I am asking is that the UN Human Rights Commission also do the world the service of investigating Hamas, whose stated intentions are murder and who openly admit to endangering their own people whilst attempting to murder innocent Israeli civilians. That there is not an investigation into Hamas’ actions actually defies logical belief and should make us all seriously question the UN Human Rights Commission.

In the meantime, I believe that as many decent people as possible should sign the petition online which calls the UN to also investigate Hamas. Friends who deny the right of Israel to exist and believe that Israel HAVE committed war crimes, this petition does not deny your views, it simply seeks to uncover the entire truth as opposed to half of it, and can only be a positive measure in finding middle ground and potentially admitting guilt on BOTH sides as opposed to simply demonising just one. Peace.

About the Author
Blake Ezra is a writer on Middle Eastern Politics and the Jewish World, breaking down the complexities of difficult subjects to make them more accessible for any reader. Blake Ezra holds a BA (Hons) in Middle Eastern Politics from Manchester University and is a Graduate of the Institute for Youth Leaders from Abroad in Jerusalem.
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