The General Assembly of the United Nations has just passed, by an overwhelming majority, a resolution to investigate Israeli war crimes, including those during the last battle with Hamas and Gaza. There will be no investigation of the Palestinian Territories, which is a nonvoting member of the UN, but it too could have been investigated as well for war crimes since they started the last skirmish by firing 4,260 rockets at civilians in Israel, not to mention the ongoing terrorism of and war crimes of Hamas (using human shields, firing rockets from civilian areas to prompt Israeli retaliation that would kill some civilians, etc.)
The most invidious aspect of this investigation is that it not only singles out Israel (which the UN does repeatedly), but is an open-ended investigation—the first such investigation in the history of the United Nations. You probably haven’t heard about it except in Israeli media, because most of the big media in the U.S. are anti-Israel. There was an article in the NYT in May (third screenshot, click on third link):
But of course time after time the UN issues resolutions against Israel while ignoring countries that have much worse human rights and war-crimes records: North Korea, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Belarus, China, and Saudi Arabia, to name a few. The obsessive single-minded assault by most of the UN on Israel bespeaks to me widespread anti-Semitism. (Dissent if you want, but keep in mind the countries I’ve just named).
You can read about the resolution in the Jerusalem Post (JP: click on first screenshot), or, for a more critical and acerbic take, the website Abu Yehuda (AY; click on second screenshot)
The first step was that in May, the UN Human Rights Council voted 24-9 (with 14 abstentions) to form a committee to investigate any human rights violations by Israel, also including violations in the West Bank and Gaza. As the NYT reported in May (my emphasis):
It was the third time in seven years that the Human Rights Council in Geneva had decided to name such a panel, but this one differed in two important respects:
It is “ongoing,” meaning the panel can pursue the inquiry indefinitely. That gives it a degree of permanence akin to investigative bodies documenting atrocities in Syria and Myanmar.
And the commission is not limited to looking just at hostilities in Gaza and the West Bank, but instead has been charged with examining “all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity.”
Although the commission could theoretically investigate human rights violations by all parties, the resolution creating it does not mention Hamas or other Palestinian militant groups. Critics who opposed the resolution said it lacked balance.
The 47 members of the council voted to approve by 24 to nine, with 14 abstentions.
Pakistan’s U.N. ambassador, Khalil Hashmi, who proposed the panel on behalf of the Organization of Islamic States, said it was needed to hold Israel accountable for what he called decades of human rights violations in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
Note that Hamas has been declared a terrorist organization by many nations, but it goes uninvestigated. And Hamas runs Gaza.
Here’s the breakdown of the initial vote from the UN Human Rights Council, given by the UN itself. You can find the resolution here, but it’s too long to add on this site; have a read for yourself. Bolding is mine:
In favour (24): Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Eritrea, Gabon, Indonesia, Libya, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.
Against (9): Austria, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Czech Republic, Germany, Malawi, Marshall Islands, United Kingdom and Uruguay.
Abstentions (14): Bahamas, Brazil, Denmark, Fiji, France, India, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Togo and Ukraine.
The U.S. was not part of the Human Rights Council then, but is now a member, having been elected in October.
The next step was to get this open-ended committee funded, and since it’s open-ended it would cost a lot of dosh. AY says this—as reported by UN watchdog Anne Bayefsky, whose words I’ve put in italics:
It is permanent in duration. It will have 18 permanent UN staff funded by the regular budget – which means 22% of it will come from American taxpayers, create an in-house legal bureau to seek criminal charges against members of the IDF and the highest echelons of the Israeli government (“command responsibility”). The three members of the “Inquiry” have been appointed – and all have public records of extreme anti-Israel animus. Notorious supporter of Durban and the Goldstone report – former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay – is the Chair. The first report of the “Inquiry” is due in June 2022.
. . .Bayefsky described the Commission and its objectives here and here. She notes that it is “unprecedented in its funding, staffing, and permanence.” It will cost almost $12 million in its first three years, and almost $5.5 million in each succeeding year. It will have three times as many staff members than were charged with investigating North Korea in 2013 (and those were temporary – this commission has no end date). She adds,
The Israel inquisition is the largest boondoggle in the history of the UN human rights system: it will fund 790 days of travel for experts and staff every year from 2022 on – forever. Those are two UN employees provided food and accommodation and airfare to roam around demonizing the Jewish state every day of every year. That is also more travel days than any of the Council’s current human rights investigations about anything, anywhere.
Finally, the Human Rights Council proposal went to the whole General Assembly which would approve the open-ended Israel investigation as part of its budget, i.e., determine if it should be funded, which means determining if the ongoing investigations should move forward.
If you know the UN and its hatred of Israel, you’ll know how that vote went. As Abba Eban said a while back:
If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.
– Abba Eban
And that’s about it. What happened is that Israel proposed an amendment to remove the Israel-investigating committee’s money from the overall budget, so this vote took place on Christmas Eve. And it went as Eban would have predicted (from the JP; bolding is mine):
The amendment to defund the probe was rejected 125-8, with 34 abstentions.China and the G77 – a UN coalition now including 134 developing countries – called for a recorded vote and urged all countries to reject Israel’s amendment. Nations besides Israel that supported the amendment put forward by the Jewish state were Hungary, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea and the United States.
Well, at least the U.S. voted against the probe—along with Hungary and Polynesian countries (the latter consistently vote in favor of Israel, but I have no idea why).
Here are the countries that abstained from the General Assembly vote (from the JP; I’ve bolded the Anglophone countries, traditionally U.S. allies):
The 34 countries that abstained were Albania, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, Central African Republic, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Fiji, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Italy, Lithuania, Madagascar, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Zambia.
Anglophone countries, including the U.S., explained their votes:
The United States took the floor to explain its vote.
The probe “perpetuates a practice of unfairly singling out Israel in the UN and, like prior US administrations, we strongly oppose such treatment of Israel,” the US representative said.“The US will continue to oppose this [probe] and to look for opportunities in Geneva to revisit its mandate, which unfortunately was passed when the US did not have a seat on the UNHRC,” he said.“Moving forward, the US will work in Geneva, where the debate over the [probe’s] mandate belongs to persuade more member states that it is inherently biased,” the US representative said.“Israel can continue to count on the US to do everything possible to shield it from discriminatory and unbalanced criticism – whether at the UNHRC or elsewhere in the UN system.”
. . .Australia said that it was not a member of the UNHRC and could not vote against the resolution when it was approved in May.“We oppose anti-Israel bias,” its representative said.“Australia supports human rights resourcing even for mandates we do not support,” he said. But he explained that the mandate for this particular probe “is excessively broad” and “over-resourced,” adding that Australia affirms “Israel’s right to self-defense in accordance with international law.”
Canada said that at this point in the process, the UNGA should be looking at funding and not revisiting the UNHRC decisions with regard to investigations.
But he said this probe was a particularly “unacceptable outlier” and that the resources needed were “significantly larger than” those allocated for “all of the investigations we approved resources for today.”
No words from the UK.
Well, the commission is a real thing, and will spend the next gazillion years trying to find war crimes committed by Israel while ignoring the war crimes of Palestine and all the other warring or bellicose countries in the world. Why this singling out of Israel, the one democratic state in the Middle East, with many Arab citizens (other Arab countries harbor virtually no Jews)? I find no explanation other than anti-Semitism. I won’t go as far as Abu Yehuda, but what the site says may be true:
The so-called “United Nations” has reached a new low in its descent from an idealistic organization dedicated to humanizing the behavior of nations, into a massive scam operation whose only consistent objective, aside from the enrichment of its employees, is the destruction of the Jewish state.