Terror victim’s son rails at UN panel for not condemning Palestinians

Micah Avni says Human Right Council’s ‘rationalization’ of terrorism ‘is pushing peace away’; UN envoy steps down, saying Israel impeded his work

The son of an Israeli man killed in a Palestinian terror attack in Jerusalem in November railed at the UN Human Rights Council on Monday for its failure to condemn the attack in which his father was murdered.

Richard Lakin, an American-born Israeli, was killed in a shooting and stabbing attack on a public bus in November.

As the council held its annual meeting in Geneva, his son, Micah Avni, spoke during its discussion on the “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.”

“Your failure to condemn Palestinian violence and your continued rationalization of Palestinian terror is pushing peace away, making more death inevitable,” Avni said.

“Palestinians are not prepared for peace,” he said. “Instead Palestinian leader [Mahmoud] Abbas praised the murderer of my father, calling him a martyr destined to go to heaven.”

Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid, who also spoke at the demonstration, called on the United Nations to take action to end the discrimination against Israel.

“We are not willing to remain silent anymore. That is not a council for Human Rights, that has become a council for Terrorist Rights,” Lapid said.

“I call on the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban ki-Moon – this organization is under your command. It’s yours. Why do you allow an organization which attacks Jews for being Jews to work under your auspices? It’s time for you to take a moral stand.”

Also during Monday’s session, the UN expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories voiced scathing criticism of Israel as he stepped down from his post over what he said was a lack of access to areas he was meant to monitor.

Makarim Wibisono, who took on the role of Special Rapporteur on the rights situation in the territories in June 2014, presented his final report to the UN Human Rights Council, criticizing Israel’s refusal to cooperate with his mandate.

“It was with deep regret that I accepted that the premise upon which I took up the mandate… was not fulfilled,” he told the council.

The Indonesian diplomat said he had been assured before taking up the position that he would have access to the territories. But he said repeated requests for access were unsuccessful.

“This lack of cooperation regrettably seems to signal the continuation of a situation under which Palestinians suffer daily human rights violations under the Israeli occupation,” he said, and decried “a general lack of accountability” for such abuses.

Makarim Wibisono addresses the UN's Human Rights Council on July 23, 2014. (UN/Violaine Martin)
Makarim Wibisono addresses the UN’s Human Rights Council on July 23, 2014. (UN/Violaine Martin)

Israel, which has long accused the Human Rights Council of having a built-in bias against the Jewish state, was not present for Wibisono’s presentation Monday.

The Foreign Ministry has previously accused the expert of bias.

The EU representative, Peter Soerensen of Denmark, said he regretted that Israel had not allowed Wibisono access to the territories. But he also noted that his mandate was “limited to investigate Israel’s violations,” and insisted that all rights abuses, regardless of who committed them, “should be subject to scrutiny.”

Palestinian representative Ibrahim Khraishi, meanwhile, charged that the appointment of Wibisono’s successor had been postponed after an Israel-linked rights group sent out a letter accusing both nominees, British law professor Penny Green and Canadian law professor Michale Lynk, of being anti-Israeli activists.

Khraishi called the delay a “flagrant violation” of the rules of the Human Rights Council.

In his presentation, Wibisono stressed the need for a successor to continue his work, voicing alarm at the recent escalation of violence committed by both Palestinians and Israelis.

The wave of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories since October has killed 29 Israelis, two Americans, a Sudanese and an Eritrean national. During that time, over 180 Palestinians have also been killed, two thirds of them while carrying out knife, gun and car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities. Others were shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes and demonstrations.

While stressing that “any wanton act of individual violence, whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis, is unacceptable and must be investigated and prosecuted,” Wibisono stressed the violence was happening “in a pre-existing context… against a backdrop of illegal settlements in the West Bank… (and) the blockade of Gaza.”

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed