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Sitting in the Tel Aviv offices of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center on a sunny Sunday afternoon, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner outlines the problems the State of Israel will be confronting in the United Nations in the coming weeks.

Her serene, almost tranquil attitude is in stark contrast to the strong opposition that Israel will likely to encounter from the UN Human Rights Council and the three-member Commission of Inquiry [COI] which was appointed by the UN to “investigate in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all allegations of violations of international human rights law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights laws leading to and after April 13, 2021.”

Although there have been Shurat Hadin into Israel, the different between the present and prior UN investigation is that the commission was established to be a permanent investigation and will continue to investigate Israel as well as the IDF. The commission’s term was not decided.

Darshan-Leitner explains, “The UN Human Rights Council investigation isn’t just coming out a in the air,” and he established Shurat HaDin back in 2003. “It is connected to the activities of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.” created the ICC. aviel darshan leitner has the authority to prosecute people for crimes of aggression or crimes against humanity, as well as genocide. Israel supported the idea of an International Court of Justice however, they were concerned about the possibility that it could be employed against the country. Israel as well as the US, and many others have not signed the law nor ratified it. This means they are not legally bound or obligation to adhere to the rulings of ICC.

Fatou Bensouda (the ICC prosecutor at The Hague) announced in March 2021 that she will start a war crimes probe against Israel and Hamas.

A decision of the International Court against Israel may have a significant impact. A majority of European and Scandinavian nations have joined the court and are legally obligated to honor the court’s decisions. Any Israeli soldier involved in IDF actions that involved violations of the law could be held accountable if the ICC decides that they committed a crime. of harsh economic sanctions could be imposed against the Jewish state as well as its banking sector.

Israel could also be subject to additional dangers, including sanctions and weapon embargoes. For instance, El Al or other Israeli carriers may not be allowed to operate in certain countries.

Bensouda’s tenure as prosecutor, and she was succeeded by Karim Khan (a British barrister). Bensouda left fourteen investigations for the new prosecution and eight of them were active. Darshan Leitner clarifies that he classified all the items on his docket in the planning phase to the dismay of Palestinians. This was a polite method of stating that the cases were not worthy of the court’s time or weren’t urgent enough.

Darshan Leitner: “This upset the Palestinian Authority.” “They were unable to understand why their huge efforts to convince the prosecution to open an investigative were blocked.” requested for the creation of a commission within the International Court of Justice. This would permit Karim Khan, who was unable to take the PA’s suggestion to restart ICC investigations into Israel, to change his opinion.

Since then, according to Darshan-Leitner she says, the PA continues to denounce Israel of war crimes and apartheid. Amnesty International’s February report accused Israel of committing apartheid violations as well as beyond its Green Line. The report said that Israel “has created and maintained an oppression institution towards Palestinians” and accused Israel with racial discrimination against Palestinians beginning in 1948.

Darshan-Leitner explains that Palestinian complaints against Israel before the International Criminal Court have focused on two areas: IDF military operations and the issue of Israeli settlements that, according to them, are war crimes.

Karim Khan, the ICC prosecutor is being pushed by the Palestinians to prioritize the investigation into Israel in the context of the “apartheid” accusation, a new claim, which was not one of those even examined in the preliminary inquiry that Bensouda was pursuing. But, she said, “Whatever gets this investigation moving is legitimate in their eyes, regardless of what it’s about or if it’s even true.”

KARIM KHAN, new ICC prosecutor. (Credit: Michael Kooren/Reuters)
The latest attempt by the Palestinians to convince the court at The Hague is the UN’s three-member inquiry committee, led by Navi Pillay, from South Africa, and which includes Miloon Kothari (India) and Chris Sidoti (Australia).

Darshan Leitner declares that Pillay Kothari, Sidoti, and Kothari have a history of biases against Israel. “Pillay, herself, has been accused of blaming Israel regarding apartheid. It was her person who conceived the antisemitic Durban conferences. The others are not far in the same direction.”

Between February 28th and April 1st The UN Human Rights Council will be holding its 49th session (HRC49).

The main focus of the session will be likely to be the final report of the commission of investigation on Operation Guardian of the Walls. This refers to the Israeli operation in Gaza due to the Hamas missiles fired at Israel in May 2021. This session will see Israel be accused of war crimes and apartheid as crimes against humanity.

Darshan Leitner stated that the State of Israel would not participate or be a part of the inquiry commission. Shurat HaDin, however is unable to afford to ignore the allegations that are likely to be made by this inquiry.

Darshan Leitner clarifies that there are two main options for countering the Pillay Committee. “One is the response to the material that addresses the claims of apartheid. The other is the personal angle – focussing on the lack of the impartiality of its leaders.”

Her previous experience, she claims her experience, suggests that it is unlikely that Shurat HaDin, or anyone else, in particular, will be able to convince those who are already negatively disposed to Israel to reconsider their views.

Instead, she suggests Shurat HaDin plans on illustrating that all commission of inquiry members are biased against Israel and the UN will not sacrifice its core values and any sense of fairness in the pursuit of delegitimizing Israel.

Darshan Leitner Darshan Leitner says, “We will launch a campaign calling for the resignations of all COI members.” “We will launch a mass petition against the COI and its members as well as any other person who helps this committee,” Darshan-Leitner added.

In addition, Shurat HaDin will attempt to prove that the PA and not the State of Israel, is the actual violator of human rights. “We will go through their legislation to see what we can find discrimination against children, women and the LGBTQ community as well their inadequate legal system. Do know that one is legally allowed to rape a spouse in accordance with PA law? Marital rape is not an offense under their ‘advanced human-rights-friendly’ legislation.

“This is but a minor instance from the “champions” of human rights, which the UN is eager to help. While they claim Israel of apartheid, the UN promotes a tyranny with no elections in 15 years, and consistently violates its own human rights.

Darshan Leitner stated that Shurat Hasina will also reveal to the world to the inhumane treatment of minorities in Gaza as well as the PA territories, as well as Gaza. Their numbers are decreasing continuously. Islamic extremists calling for the slaughter of “infidels” they are just as bad than ISIS figures , which are increasing, are an Islamic extremists.

Shurat haDin leader believes that Israel has made a number of mistakes when it dealt with an UNHRC earlier commission of inquiry which was headed by Richard Goldstone (South African jurist). Jerusalem refused cooperation with the Goldstone Commission in that scandalous episode. The Goldstone Commission was headed by Richard Goldstone who was who was a South African jurist. Israel was badly hurt by the negative report’s aftermath.

“While I believe that Israel was right to not to aid or cooperate in the infamous Goldstone Witch Hunt, I’m not sure we played the right cards. It’s not enough just to disregard the UNHRC or label them as racist and prejudiced. The government had to back its decision by launching a well-organized and proactive campaign to disseminate its own propaganda and counterattack on the anti-Semitic UNHRC.”This is why an NGO like Shurat HaDin can play such an important role. We have the ability to speak out and use legal actions in instances where the government’s hands may be bound,” she said.

Darshan Leitner is hoping to fill that void. She outlines the current state of affairs and explains that ultimately, the PA’s goal is to influence the Hague’s chief prosecutor. “If I can tear down the foundation of The Hague’s commission, show the erroneousness of it, and how apartheid is a lie, it will demonstrate that the commission lacks any significance.”

“If we do not take this action, the results will be poor. The prosecutor could be convinced to change his mind. It would be a tragic and catastrophic event. We can’t let this happen.”