Ben-Dror Yemini was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel in 1954. He studied Humanities and History in Tel Aviv University, and later on he studies Law. After his university studies, he was appointed advisor to the Israeli Minister of Immigration Absorption and then became the spokesman of the Ministry. In 1984, he began his career as a journalist and essayist. He worked as a lawyer and was a partner in a law firm. He has worked for the daily newspaper Maariv, and in Spring 2014 began writing for the daily Yedioth Ahronoth. The author of "The Industry of Lies."
Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:44 am Cooperating with UN's Gaza probe would be a wasted effort - By Ben-Dror Yemini
Cooperating with UN's Gaza probe would be a wasted effort
Op-ed: Without a clear anti-Israel stance, William Schabas would not have been selected to chair the UN commission investigating Israel's crimes.
By Ben-Dror Yemini
August 14, 2014
We should put things in the right order: Without a clear anti-Israel stance, William Schabas would not have been selected to chair the UN commission probing Israel's crimes.
Schabas and the UN Human Rights Council, which decided to appoint the committee, have a common denominator: Regular anti-Israel stances.
When the decision was made to appoint a commission of inquiry into Israel's crimes, the European Union ambassador told the UNHRC that "the final draft text continues to be unbalanced, inaccurate, and prejudges the outcome of the investigation by making legal statements."
It turns out that even the EU, which cannot be suspected of overly sympathizing with Israel, is capable of setting red lines. The UNHRC, like the commission of inquiry operating on its behalf, is a completely different story.
In 2009, that same council established the Goldstone Commission, after 1,100-1,400 Palestinians were killed, most of them fighters. Several months later, Sri Lanka decided to solve the Tamil Tigers terror issue. Some 40,000 civilians were killed in one of the worst acts of slaughter in the past decades.
Some say that's the way to deal with terror. Israel doesn’t share that view. But the more interesting thing is that the same council which ruled that Israel had committed war crimes issued a statement praising and glorifying Sri Lanka for its great success in eradicating terror.
Schabas is taking the same path. He has made it clear that his favorite people to try in the International Criminal Court would be former president Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is undoubtedly the suitable person to head the commission.
Despite this background, despite the bias, should Israel cooperate with the commission? The main argument is that we should learn the lesson from our failure to cooperate with the Goldstone Commission, and therefore if we do cooperate – the outcome will be different.
This is an excellent argument, but it's baseless. Israel did find a way to hand over all the required material, all the answers and rebuttals, even if this was not done officially by the state. It was a wasted effort, because when the commission's letter of appointments demands, to begin with, that Israel should be convicted in the first act, the conviction arrived at the third act.
With all due respect to Richard Goldstone, who wrote in an article in which he regretted the claims that he did not know and that "if I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone report would have been a very different document," it's nice that he regretted it, but it's a false claim.
How exactly can a judge be appointed to determine the result even before the trial? In the law of civilized countries, it's impossible. In international law, under the protection of the UNHRC, it becomes possible. And so, international law is deteriorating in the direction of the legal system in Sudan and in Iran.
It's kind of amazing that dignified professors cooperate with this growing distortion. They could have saved the status of international law if they had maintained their decency. But they gave up. The result is not a fair trial; the result is a showcase trial.
On this background, any cooperation on Israel's part will legitimize both the UNHRC and the commission itself. As long as the decision makers don't have any information which justifies cooperation, there is no need and no reason for that to happen.