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Israel’s UN envoy says human rights chief ‘failed’

Israel’s envoy to the United Nations in Geneva lashes out at the UN’s outgoing human rights chief, Navi Pillay, after she expressed doubt at the legality of Operation Protective Edge.

“In the efforts to safeguard the human rights of Israelis, the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights and her Office have failed dismally,” Ambassador Eviatar Manor writes in a press release.

“The clarity of her message to Israel is in sharp contrast to the opaqueness of her message to Hamas. She has put to shame George Orwell’s doublespeak. She refused, over and over, to acknowledge the fact that Hamas is committing a double war crime: targeting Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians. Israel, on the other hand, is taking measures to avoid harming innocent civilians and minimize casualties.”

Manor writes that he reacted with “total disbelief” to Pillay’s call to made “leaders on all sides… abandon their poisonous rhetoric.” Israeli leaders have acted with “utmost restraint” after rockets starting being launched toward its cities and villages after the abduction of three Israeli teens, and have all condemned the kidnapping and murder of an Arab teen, the ambassador continues.

Israeli diplomat Eviatar Manor (right) presents his credentials to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of the United Nations Office at Geneva, August 2012 (photo credit: Pierre Albouy/UN)
Israeli diplomat Eviatar Manor (right) presents his credentials to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of the United Nations Office at Geneva, August 2012 (photo credit: Pierre Albouy/UN)

“The High Commissioner has lost her bearings. Focusing her criticism on Israel is wrong, biased, unjustifiable and ultimately, unhelpful. If she actually wanted to be helpful in this situation, she would have condemned Hamas in the strongest manner,” Manor writes.

On Friday, Pillay had said she had received “deeply disturbing reports” that many of the civilian casualties occurred as a result of strikes on homes. “Such reports raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” she said.

On September 1, Pillay will leave the post. She will be succeeded by Jordanian Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein.

— Raphael Ahren

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