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In the Tel Aviv offices of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center on a warm Sunday afternoon Nitsana Darshan-Leitner outlines the issues the State of Israel will be facing from the United Nations in the coming weeks.

Her serene, almost calm manner of speaking hides the ferocious opposition Israel will likely face from its UN Human Rights Council and its three-member Commission of Inquiry. This was mandated by the UN to “investigate as well as in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel all alleged breaches of international humanitarian and other human rights law up until and including the 13th of April 2021.”

Although Israel has had vigorous UN investigation in the recent past The main distinction is that the current UN inquiry was created as a continuous investigation to probe Israel’s IDF. The mandate of the commission did not have a specific end date.

Darshan-Leitner explains, “The UN Human Rights Council probe is not appearing out of out of thin air.” and he founded Shurat HaDin back in 2003. “It is connected to the activities of the International Court of Justice in The Hague.”

The ICC was established by the Rome Statute in 1998, which established the court. The court has the authority to prosecute people for crimes of aggression, crimes against humanity and genocide. Israel supported the idea of an International Court of Justice however, it was worried about the possibility that it would be employed against them. Israel and the US as well as a number of other countries have neither signed nor ratified the law and are not under any legal obligation to adhere to the decisions of the ICC.

Fatou Bensouda at The Hague was the ICC Prosecutor of the ICC. She announced that she would launch an investigation into war crimes against Israel and Hamas in March 2021.

The International Court’s ruling against Israel could have serious implications. Most European and Scandinavian nations are members of this court and legally are obligated to follow its rulings. If the ICC was to decide that IDF soldiers were guilty of war crimes, any Israeli serving in different IDF military operations and who happen to be traveling in countries that are members of the court, such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand – could be arrested. Economic sanctions could be severe and put on the Jewish State as well as the banking industry.

Israel may also be subject to sanctions, weapons embargoes and boycotts. nitsana darshan leitner For instance, El Al or other Israeli transporters might not be permitted to operate in certain countries.

Bensouda ended her term as prosecutor in June 2021. Karim Kan, a British barrister, was chosen as her successor. The new prosecutor was able to inherit 14 investigations that were initiated by Bensouda, of which eight were ongoing investigations. Darshan Leitner explained how to the dismay of Palestinians, he classified the cases on the dockets of his court as “in preparation phase”. This polite method of describing the allegations did not have the merit or urgency that merited the court’s focus.

“This upset the Palestinian Authority,” says Darshan-Leitner. “They could not comprehend how their tremendous efforts to get the prosecutor’s office to open an investigation has stalled.”

In September 2021 in September 2021, the PA demanded the creation of a commission in the International Court of Justice to influence Karim Khan to change his mind and restart the ICC’s investigation against Israel. Darshan Leitner declares that Israel was accused by the PA of war crimes, apartheid, and other crimes. The February report by Amnesty International accused Israel for apartheid behavior in and outside of its Green Line. The report stated that Israel had “established and maintained an institutionalized system oppression” towards Palestinians. In addition the report accused Israel for racial separatism of Palestinians dating back to 1948.

Darshan Leitner Darshan Leitner explains that Palestinian claims against Israel before the International Criminal Court focus on two areas. IDF military operation and Israeli settlements. Darshan Leitner believes these areas are war crimes.

Karim Khan is being pressured by the Palestinians and the ICC prosecutor is being urged to prioritise the investigation into Israel under “apartheid” which is a brand new charge. It was not one that Bensouda examined in his preliminary investigation. But, she said, “Whatever gets this investigation moving is valid in their eyes, regardless of what it’s about or whether it’s true.”

KARIM KHAN, new ICC prosecutor. (Credit: Michael Kooren/Reuters)
The United Nations’ third-member inquiry commission, which is headed by Navi Pillay, a native of South Africa and includes Miloon Kothari from Australia, as well as Chris Sidoti, is the latest attempt by Palestinians to get their message across to The Hague court.

According to Darshan Leitner, Pillay, Kothari and Sidoti are well-known for their biases towards Israel.”All three have a demonstrated history of actions and statements regarding the same issues they are called to ‘investigate the matter,'” she says. “Pillay, herself, has made allegations against Israel for its apartheid policies. It was her person who conceived the antisemitic Durban conferences. The other members of the group are not far behind.”

From February 28 through April 1, the UN Human Rights Council’s 49th session (HRC49) will take place in Geneva at the Geneva office.

The primary attraction of the session is likely be the report the commission of inquiry will publish regarding Operation Guardian of the Walls. This was the Israeli operation in Gaza in May 2021 as an answer to the missiles launched at Israel by Hamas. This session will include Israel accused of war crimes as well apartheid and crimes against humanity.

Darshan Leitner stated that, although Israel is not cooperating with the commission of inquiry or be involved in the investigation, Shurat haDin cannot ignore the allegations to be made by the commission.

Darshan Leitner said that there are two main alternatives to counter the Pillay panel. “The first is the substantive answer – answering the allegations of apartheid. The second is the personal aspect which focuses on its own members’ animosity.

She says that her previous experiences have shown that Shurat haDin, or any other person, is not capable of convincing people who are already opposed to Israel to change their minds.

She proposes that Shurat HaDin should instead demonstrate that all members of the inquiry commission are biased against Israel and also that the UN is prepared to sacrifice its values of fairness, fairness, and a sense of fairness to delegitimize Israel.

Darshan Leitner explains “We’re planning to launch an initiative calling for all COI members to resign.” “We are planning to launch mass petitions, take legal action against COI members as well as anyone who assists this committee,” Darshan Leitner declares.

Shurat HaDin is also going to try to prove that it is not Israel but rather the PA that are the true violations of human rights. “We will go through their legislation to see what we can find – discrimination against women, children, and the LGBTQ community as well as their flawed legal system. Did you not know that PA law allows one to legally assault his wife? Shurat Hadin Marital rape is not an offense under their ‘advanced human-rights-friendly’ legislation.

This is just one of the examples of the UN’s “champions for human rights’ that the UN is eager to help. While they accuse Israel of apartheid, the United Nations promotes a tyranny with no elections in 15-years and that consistently infringes on its own human rights.

Darshan Leitner says Shurat HaDin is also going to expose the world to the way minorities in Gaza and the PA are treated. “The fate of Christians living in Gaza as well as the PA territories is sealed,” she states. Their numbers are decreasing continuously. They are growing.

The Shurat HaDin leader believes that Israel has made a lot of errors in the handling of an earlier UNHRC inquiry commission headed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone in 2009. In the infamous incident, Jerusalem refused to cooperate with the Goldstone Commission, declaring it as a biased organization with a predetermined agenda that would not allow its collaboration. Israel was the target of many tensions following the harshly criticized final report.

“While I am fully convinced that Israel was right in refusing to cooperate with the vile Goldstone witch hunting I’m not convinced that we dealt our cards very well. It’s not enough to avoid UNHRC members and declare that they are haters and discriminatory. Israel Law Center The government needed to supplement its decision by launching a well-organized and proactive campaign to disseminate its own version of events and to defend itself against the antisemitic UNHRC.”This is why an NGO like Shurat HaDin can play such vital roles. We can be vocal and take legal actions in instances when the government’s hands could be bound,” she said.

Darshan Leitner is determined to fill this void. She outlines the current situation and states that the goal of the PA is to ultimately influence the Hague’s Chief Prosecutor. In a nutshell she wrote, “If I can remove the bases of the commission to expose how flawed the claim is, why apartheid’s claims are false, and why it is better suited to The Hague’s chief prosecutor It will prove that it lacks value.”

“If we don’t do this then the consequences will be bad. The prosecutor may be influenced, and may alter his mind. It will be a tragic and significant loss. It’s not possible to do this.

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