The UN Commission of Inquiry on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Chaired by Navi Pillay
In wake of the 11-day Hamas-Israel war of May 2021, the Palestinians and Pakistan, acting on behalf of the Islamic group of states, initiated an emergency session of the U.N. Human Rights Council and succeeded in creating yet another Commission of Inquiry targeting Israel and incentivizing Hamas.
This one, however, is unprecedented. Its scope includes not only the war of May 2021, but all events leading up to it, and since. They also have the broad mandate to examine “root causes” of the conflict, including alleged “systematic discrimination” based on race.
Whereas all past inquiries on Israel lasted for about a year, this one is perpetual—it goes on forever.
UN rules require that commissioners be impartial. Pillay is the opposite. On repeated occasions, Pillay has publicly accused Israel of being an Apartheid state. She has even signed petitions lobbying governments to “Sanction apartheid Israel.”
Navi Pillay was appointed to ensure a guilty verdict against Israel, to label it an Apartheid state with the UN’s imprimatur.
To demand an end to this perpetual inquiry, which has all the credibility of a Stalinist show trial, please join UN Watch’s campaign by signing our petition.
On 27 May 2021, at the request of the Palestinian delegation and Pakistan on behalf of the Islamic group of states (the Organization of Islamic Cooperation), the Human Rights Council held a special session on “the Grave Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”
By a vote of 24 to 9, with 14 abstentions, the Council adopted the resolution “Ensuring respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel.”
Those voting in favor: Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Eritrea, Gabon, Indonesia, Libya, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.
Voting against were: Austria, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Czech Republic, Germany, Malawi, Marshall Islands, United Kingdom, and Uruguay.
Through this resolution, HRC/30/1, the Human Rights Council decided to “urgently establish an ongoing, independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate, in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel, all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law leading up and since 13 April 2021.”
The resolution further requested the commission of inquiry to “investigate all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity.”
The commission of inquiry was mandated to report to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly on an annual basis as from June 2022 and September 2022, respectively.
Navi Pillay, appointed to head the COI, is well known for her bias towards Israel while UN High Commissioner of Human Rights in 2008-2014. In this position, she empaneled four fact-finding missions targeting Israel, more than any other country; oversaw the discredited Goldstone Report, which was later rejected by its primary author; permitted the appointment of the notoriously antisemitic Richard Falk as the Special Rapporteur for the Palestinians; and convened the 2009 Durban II conference, which was boycotted by most democracies, and provided Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a prominent platform to disseminate antisemitic vitriol.
Following are key documents connected to the Pillay Commission.
UN Watch’s 30-page legal brief submitted to the UN, detailing how Navi Pillay violated UN rules by failing to disclose numerous of her prior statements that directly prejudge the matters before the inquiry, and calling on her to recuse herself.
UN Watch’ official submission to the Commission of Inquiry
On June 13th, the Human Rights Council will hear the first report of its new Commission of Inquiry which is investigating alleged war crimes during last year’s Hamas-Israel war, as well as alleged systematic discrimination in Israel and the Palestinian territories. To bring critical information to the public debate, UN Watch has invited experts to present testimony that will be submitted to the COI.
Dear @UN_HRC President @FVillegasARG: Having seen the latest protestations by Navi Pillay about her impartiality, as reported by @tovahlazaroff @Jerusalem_Post, we once again urge you to remove her on grounds of gross bias and conflict of interest for the reasons detailed below: https://t.co/yTnk2ywFGd
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) June 16, 2022
This is a self-evident case where an appearance of impartiality has been created. For Navi Pillay, her fellow commissioners and the UNHRC to dig in is, in our view, unwise and counterproductive. When the appearance of justice is compromised, so is justice itself. /16
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) June 16, 2022
It is hard for us to accept that Pillay's lobbying to “Sanction Apartheid Israel!”— and to declare Israel guilty of the May 2021 Hamas-Israel war — are consistent with ensuring “the appearance of impartiality.” These very questions are directly before her Commission. /15
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) June 16, 2022
Please sign our petition and join over 7,000 who have already called on Navi Pillay to be recused as the chair of the UN inquiry, or share our tweets on social media.
Navi Pillay is on record calling Israel an “apartheid state,” has campaigned to boycott and sanction Israel, and signs statements lobbying governments to punish the Jewish state.
It is therefore a travesty of justice for her to serve as Chair of the new United Nations inquiry into last spring’s Hamas-Israel war. She must resign immediately, or be removed.
Accordingly, we are calling on Ms. Pillay to recuse herself. In the event that she refuses to do so, we request Federico Villegas, the President of the Human Rights Council, to remove her.
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