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UN Human Rights Commission Probes Israeli War Crimes

January 20, 2015

“For my enemies are whispering against me.  They are plotting together to kill me.”  (Psalm 71:10)

The mother of Daniel Tragerman appeared before the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), which is investigating the possible war crimes committed during Operation Protective Edge in last summer’s war with Gaza.

Daniel is the 4-year-old Israeli boy who was killed by a mortar shell last summer during a Hamas strike on Israel.  He was hit while running for safety in his home at Kibbutz Nahal Oz, which is along the Gaza Strip.

Gila Tragerman gave her testimony by Skype from her home at the kibbutz answering questions posed by the commission’s chairman William Schabas.  She spoke both of her loss and of the attempts by the IDF to protect the civilian (Arab) population.

Daniel Tregerman-Hamas-mortar-Operation Protective Edge

Four-year-old Daniel Tragerman was killed in 2014 when a Gaza mortar was fired by Hamas into a civilian target.

Tragerman testified that the Israeli military knew of rocket launchers posed to fire at Jewish communities, and they held their fire in order to protect the civilian population that Hamas was using as human shields.

 “I told [him] of how Hamas shot from population centers clearly knowing that the IDF would not fire, and they were not wrong.  The IDF really did not fire.  Why?  Because we do not attack innocent civilians,” Gila said.  (YNet)

She also described how she and other kibbutz members became refugees during the war.

Gila was not the only Israeli to testify.  A delegation of Israelis arrived in Geneva in order to appear before the commission.  (YNet)

Although the Israeli government does not recognize the commission, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry allowed the delegation, which was created by the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, to speak only as citizens and not as representatives of the Jewish state.  (Times of Israel)

Sderot factory-burns-Hamas rocket strike

A Sderot factory burns to the ground after taking a direct hit from a Gaza bomb.

As citizens, they testified of the traumas they experienced during the war.  (Haaretz)

Gadi Yarkoni, the economic coordinator of Kibbutz Nirim, who lost both legs due to a mortar attack, and Eshkol Regional Council Chairman Haim Yellin, traveled to Switzerland as part of a secret delegation, in order to testify before the commission.  (YNet)

Last week, the Schabas Commission said that it has heard the testimonies of many from both sides.

While Israel refuses to participate in the hearings, declaring that they are anti-Israel, Schabas claims that he is a friend of Israel, having visited it several times.  Nevertheless, Schabas’ bias against Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu in particular, has been clearly documented in video and on paper.

Speaking to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said, “The commission’s mandate is twisted, and its chair is committing a fundamentally unjust sin by already expressing his opinion on Israel, and determined in advance that Israel committed war crimes.  If Schabas were a decent person, he would have had to resign a long time ago.  Nevertheless, Israel will not prevent any Israeli citizen from having their say before international bodies and institutions.”  (jns)

As an example of his bias, Schabas hailed the Goldstone Report that indicted Israel for war crimes in the 2009 Gaza-Israel war, saying that Goldstone, “had better be on next year’s Nobel short list,” and that “the world should be thankful that we have people like Richard Goldstone.”

When Goldstone later reviewed all evidence, he retracted the core allegations against Israel that it targeted civilians, finding these charges to be false.

Schabas did not praise these new finding of truth; instead, he said that Goldstone had become “more indulgent towards Israel.”  (unwatch)

This second fact-finding commission is being called by many as Goldstone 2—it is a second chance by the UN Human Rights Council, a body known for its partiality against Israel, to indict Israel for war crimes, with the goal of seeing Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders stand trial at the International Criminal Court, which the “State of Palestine” will join April 1.  (YNet)

The Schabas commission is scheduled to present its findings to the UNHRC on March 23.

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