Foreign Ministry Enters Next Round On UNHRC Report

YERUSHALAYIM -

After Monday’s round of official condemnations of the UN Human Rights Council report on Gaza as fatally biased, the Israeli Foreign Ministry is already engaged in the next stage of the battle: an attempt to block approval of the report in the international body, Ynet reported on Tuesday.

A vote in favor of the report by council members in the coming days may not be preventable, due to the pro-Palestinian voting bloc. But behind the scenes, Israeli diplomats are fighting it. If council approval is given, the document will then proceed to the UN General Assembly.

In addition, a social media campaign is being organized to defend the conduct of the IDF in Gaza and expose the distortions and unfairness of the report. Pro-Israeli groups are organizing a protest to take place outside UN headquarters next Monday when the report will be discussed by the UNHRC in Geneva before the coming vote.

Privately, Foreign Ministry officials were expressing satisfaction at Israel’s handling of the problem. One senior official credited the Israeli government’s decision to refuse cooperation with the investigation leading up to the report as averting a much worse outcome.

The “worse outcome” may have been an allusion to the Goldstone Report on the 2008-9 Gaza fighting. Several analyses published since Monday have said that the UNHRC document, bad as it is, is still considerably less damaging than Goldstone, which accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes and deliberately targeting civilians. (Judge Richard Goldstone later expressed regret, saying that “if I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone report would have been a very different document.”)

“They would have reached the same conclusion and maybe even worse if we had cooperated,” he contended. “Their investigation does not cross the threshold into criminal investigation and therefore they did not discuss individuals. The entire report [has no leg to] stand on because they didn’t have access to the field.”

“There is no indictment of Israel here,” said another diplomat on Tuesday. “They are aware that they don’t have enough information for an indictment. What’s disturbing is that it puts Israel and Hamas on the same weighing scale. There’s no doubt that this harms Israel’s image.”