Yair Lapid, the chairman of the centrist Yesh Atid party, on Monday condemned the forthcoming UN Human Rights Council committee report on last summer’s war in Gaza, predicting that it would unfairly single Israel out for criticism.
Describing the report as having been “born in sin,” he said it was further evidence that the UN had “lost its mind.”
“A quarter of a million people dead in Syria, Iraq is falling apart, beheadings in Saudi Arabia, a million dead in Sudan, Libya has ceased to exist as a functioning state, and only Israel is obsessively investigated again and again and again, always with the assumption that the Jews are to blame for everything,” Lapid said.
Calling the Israeli army “the most moral army in the world,” he enumerated all the steps that it takes to avoid inflicting civilian casualties: phoning ahead before aerial attacks to give people a chance to leave their homes; ordering pilots to turn back from missions because civilians have been detected in the area; and building “a field hospital for its enemies during an operation, on the edge of the battlefield.”
“All of this happens while we’re fighting a terror organization of the worst kind. Terrorists who shoot at our soldiers and civilians from hospitals, from mosques, from kindergartens, from schools. Hamas fired at Israel, at Israel’s citizens, women and the elderly, from UN buildings, in breach of UN treaties. But who does the UN investigate? Us,” Lapid said.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that Israel had to “fight” the forthcoming report.
“We must fight it just like we fought against Orange’s boycott,” he said at a meeting of his Jewish Home faction, referring to the global communications giant’s CEO, Stephane Richard, who said he would cut ties with Israel “tomorrow” if not for the “huge risk” of penalties. Richard came to Israel for two days last week to clarify what he termed a “misunderstanding” and mend the rift.
“The time has come to go on the offensive,” Bennett continued. “There are good guys and bad guys here: one society that protects kindergartners and another that hides rockets inside kindergartens. Those who are blinded by anti-Semitism ought to do some soul-searching.
“I saw with my own eyes how the [Israeli] army sacrificed the basic principles of combat to avoid harming civilians, who turned out any number of times to be combatants in disguise,” he said. “If we stand firm, the Schabas report will end up just like the Goldstone one did. Even when we are attacked and judged, we will never forget for a moment that we are in the right.”
The forthcoming report is named for William Schabas, an international law expert who headed the UN inquiry into the war until February, when he stepped down in the wake of Israeli accusations of bias against the Jewish state. The UN’s Goldstone report, named for its author, Richard Goldstone, was issued after the war in Gaza in 2008-9.
Israeli officials assess that the Schabas report will be issued later this week.