Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the committee appointed by United Nations Human Rights Council to shelve its report into the summer 2014 Gaza conflict, following Canadian academic William Schabas’ resignation Monday night.
Schabas said he would resign after Israeli allegations of bias due to consultancy work he did for the Palestine Liberation Organization.
“After the resignation of William Schabas it is time to shelve the anti-Israeli report his committee wrote,” Netanyahu said in response.
Netanyahu called out the UN Human Rights Council for “proving itself an anti-Israel body,” saying that in 2014, it “received more resolutions against Israel than against Iran, Syria and North Korea combined.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman cautioned that Schabas’ resignation would not affect the committee’s conclusions, stating that the committe was inherently biased.
Lieberman lauded the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s campaign against Schabas while commenting on the international community’s hypocrisy, saying that appointing Schabas was like “appointing Cain to investigate who killed Abel.”
Schabas was appointed last August by the head of the United Nations Human Rights Council to lead a three-member group looking into alleged war crimes during Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.
In a letter to the commission, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, Schabas said he would step down immediately to prevent the issue from overshadowing the preparation of the report and its findings, which are due to be published in March.
Schabas’ departure highlights the sensitivity of the UN investigation just weeks after prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague said they had started a preliminary inquiry into alleged atrocities in the Palestinian territories.
In the letter, Schabas said a legal opinion he wrote for the Palestine Liberation Organization in 2012, for which he was paid $1,300, was not different from advice he had given to many other governments and organizations.
“My views on Israel and Palestine as well as on many other issues were well known and very public,” he wrote. “This work in defense of human rights appears to have made me a huge target for malicious attacks (…).”