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Nitsana Dahan-Leitner, sitting in the Tel Aviv offices of Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center discusses the challenges Israel faces in the United Nations in coming weeks.

Her serene, calm attitude is in stark contrast to the fierce opposition Israel is facing from both the UN Human Rights Council, as well as the three-member Commission of Inquiry [COI] which was commissioned by the UN “investigate” in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, East Jerusalem and Israel all allegations of violations of the international human rights law, as well any allegations of abuses and violations of international human rights laws prior to and up to the 13th of April, 2021.

Although Israel was the subject of UN-led investigations in the past it is obvious that this investigation was created to continue and examine Israel and its IDF. The commission’s term was not a set date.

Darshan-Leitner was the founder of Shurat HaDin in 2003. “The UN Human Rights Council inquiry is not emerging from thin air,” she explains. “It’s linked to the ongoing proceedings of the International Court of Justice (The Hague).

The 1998 Rome Statute created the ICC. The court is authorized under the Rome Statute to prosecute individuals convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity or crimes against mankind, as well as the crime of aggression. Israel initially supported the establishment of an international court. However they were concerned that the court could be employed against Israel. Israel as well as the US as well as many other countries haven’t signed the statute and have not ratified the statute. That means they do not have a legal obligation or obligation to adhere to the decisions of ICC.

Fatou Bensouda was the ICC prosecutor in The Hague and announced in March 2021 that she would be opening a war crime probe against Israel.

A decision by the International Court against Israel could have major implications. aviel darshan leitner Most European and Scandinavian members of the court are legally bound by its decisions. If the ICC were to rule that IDF soldiers were guilty of war crimes, anyone Israeli who was a part of IDF military operations who would be traveling in countries that have been deemed members of the court – like Canada, Australia and New Zealand – could be subject to arrest. Economic sanctions that are harsh could be applied to the Jewish state as well as its banks sector.

Israel could be a target for sanctions, weapons embargoes and boycotts. El Al or other Israeli carriers could be barred from operating in certain countries.

Bensouda ended her term as prosecutor in June 2021. aviel darshan leitner Karim Kan, a British barrister was appointed her successor. Bensouda inherited 14 investigations which included eight ongoing investigations. Karim Khan was the new prosecutor who was able take over all of them. Darshan Leitner explained that to the astonishment of Palestinians the court classified items on the docket of his court as “in preparation stage”. This is a courteous method of describing the allegations didn’t have the credibility or urgency to warrant the court’s focus.

aviel darshan leitner “This caused a lot of anger to the Palestinian Authority,” says Darshan-Leitner. “They were unable to understand what was the reason their enormous efforts to get the prosecution to open an investigation were stopped.”

The PA asked for the establishment of a commission within the International Court of Justice in September 2021. This was done to spur Karim Khan to reconsider his mind about the ICC’s investigation into Israel.

Since then, as Darshan-Leitner claims, the PA continues to denounce Israel of committing war crimes as well as apartheid. Amnesty International’s February report inflicted blame on Israel of committing apartheid violations in and outside of the Green Line. The report stated that Israel “has created and maintained an institution of oppression” against Palestinians and also accused Israel of imposing racial segregation of Palestinians since 1948.

Darshan-Leitner explains that Palestinian complaints against Israel before the International Criminal Court have been concentrated on two areas that are: IDF military operations and Israeli settlements. They claim these are war crimes.

Karim Khan (the ICC prosecutor) is being called upon by Palestinians for Israel to be probed under the “apartheidaccusation. This new accusation was not included in the initial investigation Bensouda carried out. They believe “whatever is causing these investigations to go on legitimate, and it does not matter what it might be, or whether it is factual,” she states.

KARIM KHAN, new ICC prosecutor. (Credit: Michael Kooren/Reuters)
The UN’s third-member inquiry commission that is led by Navi Pillay from South Africa and includes Miloon Kothari from Australia, and Chris Sidoti, is the latest attempt by Palestinians to get their message across to The Hague court.

Darshan Leitner states that Pillay Kothari, Sidoti, and Kothari have a long history of biases in favor of Israel. “Pillay herself has been accused of promoting apartheid in Israel and was the main inspiration behind the antisemitic Durban conference. The other members of the group are not far behind.”

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

The primary attraction of the session is likely to be the report the commission of inquiry is expected to present regarding Operation Guardian of the Walls. This was the Israeli operation in Gaza in the month of May 2021 as a response to the missiles launched at Israel by Hamas. During the session, Israel will likely to be facing charges of apartheidand war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Darshan Leitner said that while Israel will not cooperate with the commission of inquiry or get involved in the investigation, Shurat haDin cannot ignore the allegations to be made by the commission.

Darshan Leitner stated that there were two main options to combat the Pillay panel. aviel darshan leitner “One is the more substantive one that addresses the accusations of apartheid. The personal angle is based on the members’ lack of impartiality.

Previous experience, she says she believes, indicates that it’s unlikely Shurat HaDin or anyone else in particular will be able convince people who are negative about Israel to reconsider their views.

Shurat HaDin She suggests plans to demonstrate that all the members of the inquiry committee have biases against Israel and that the UN will not sacrifice its core principles and any sense of fairness in order to discredit Israel.

Darshan Leitner Darshan Leitner “We’re going to launch an initiative that calls for all COI Members to step down.” “We plan to organize large-scale petitions, and take legal actions against COI members as well as anyone who assists this committee,” Darshan Leitner says.

Shurat HaDin, on the other hand, is going to try to show that the PA is the most serious violator of human right. “We will scrutinize their laws to uncover the gender discrimination that is imposed on children and women and their inadequate legal system. Did you not know that PA law allows one to legally assault his wife? Marital rape is not an offense under their ‘advanced human-rights-friendly’ legislation.

“This is only a tiny instance of the ‘champions of human rights’ that the UN is eager to help. While they are able to accuse Israel – a true democratic state – of apartheid they promote a tyranny, that hasn’t held elections in 15 years, and which routinely violates rights of its own citizens.”

Darshan Leitner declared that Shurat Hasina is also going to expose the world to the inhumane treatment of minorities in Gaza as well as the PA territories, as well as Gaza. Their numbers are continually decreasing. Islamic extremists calling for killing of “infidels” are increasing. They are no worse than ISIS figures.

Shurat HaDin’s leader believes that Israel made serious mistakes in the handling of the 2009 UNHRC investigation into Richard Goldstone, a South African jurist. Jerusalem did not cooperate with the Goldstone Commission in that scandalous episode. The Goldstone Commission was led by Richard Goldstone who was a South African jurist. Israel was a victim of international tensions resulting from the highly crucial final report.

“While I completely agree that Israel was right in refusing to aid or participate in the deplorable Goldstone witch hunt, I don’t think we had a good time playing our cards. It doesn’t suffice to avoid the UNHRC and call them biased or a hater. The government was required to supplement its decision by launching a well planned and well-organized campaign to disseminate the government’s story and counter attack against the anti-Semitic UNHRC. She says we can engage, speak out and take legal action when the government’s hands are tied.”

Shurat Hadin Darshan Leitner is determined to fill this gap. She outlines the current state of affairs and states that the goal of the PA was to influence The Hague Chief Prosecutor. “If I am able to eliminate the foundation as well as the claims of apartheid , to show how wrong-headed it is, and also how it is more suited towards the PA that would prove that the Commission is useless.”

“If we don’t do this, the results will be poor. The prosecutor could be attracted by the possibility of changing his opinion. If he does, it will be a tragedy and could be a game changer. It’s not possible to do this.”