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      ‘Impartial’ UN Expert: Israeli Actions are ‘War Crimes'

      UN appointee termed by Israeli ambassador as not "impartial or objective” warns that Israeli actions in Jerusalem could amount to war crimes.
      By Hillel Fendel
      First Publish: 7/1/2010, 10:58 AM / Last Update: 7/1/2010, 11:23 AM

      A United Nations appointee termed by Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. as not “independent, impartial or objective” warns that Israeli actions against illegal construction and residence could amount to “war crimes under international humanitarian law.”

      Richard Falk, who holds the position of “U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestinian territories occupied since 1967,” warned Israel against attempting to deport four top Hamas members from Jerusalem, and against the plan to demolish 22 illegal buildings – while retroactively authorizing 66 others – in a historic Jewish area of Jerusalem below the Temple Mount.

      “These actions, if carried out, would violate international law, with certain actions potentially amounting to war crimes under international humanitarian law,” warned Falk, who was appointed by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council.

      Among the four Hamas members that Israel wishes to deport is the orange-bearded Muhammed Abu-Tir, who was convicted in the past of the attempted poisoning in the early 1990s of Israel's water supplies and running the murderous Hamas military arm, the Izz a-Din al-Kassam Brigades. That organization is responsible for the kidnapping of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, as well as many shootings, suicide bombings, and the like.

      Abu Tir was sentenced to life in prison on terrorism charges; Amira Hass of Haaretz lamented last week that "his parents died, his daughters were married, and his grandchildren were born and grew up while he was in prison." Released in 2005 and allowed to run for a seat on the PA Legislative Council, he was held most recently as a bargaining chip for the release of Shalit. MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) expressed his “shock” at hearing that Abu Tir was to be released from prison. “In any normal country,” Ben-Ari stated, “a man like Abu Tir, whose hands are soaked with the blood of Jews, would find himself deep in the ground - or at least in jail for the rest of his life.”

      Despite the above, Mr. Falk said it was “disturbing” and “shocking” that Israel is considering revoking the residency permits of Abu Tir and his three Hamas comrades and “appears ready to forcibly transfer these individuals based on their supposed lack of loyalty to the State of Israel.” He called Israel “an occupying Power” that is “prohibited from transferring civilian persons from East Jerusalem, and is prohibited from forcing Palestinians to swear allegiance or otherwise affirm their loyalty to the State of Israel.”

      Background Explains All
      Falk’s background includes the following: He described his family as “assimilationist Jewish with a virtual denial of even the ethnic side of Jewishness,” has stated that the United States wars in Vietnam and Iraq were either war crimes or in violation of international law, and is a former advisory board member of the American Movement for World Government.

      Well before his appointment to his current position in March 2008, Falk said it would not be an "irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with the criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity." He also took part in a U.N. fact-finding mission that found that suicide bombings were a valid method of “struggle.”

      When Falk was appointed to the U.N. body, Israel’s then-Ambassador to the U.N. Yitzchak Levanon lambasted the appointment using terms such as "hopelessly unbalanced" and “malicious.” Levanon said that someone with views like Falk’s “could not possibly be considered independent, impartial or objective." Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said about Falk's appointment, "He was picked for a reason, and the reason is not to have an objective assessment; the objective is to find more ammunition to go after Israel.”

      Whose Garden?
      Confusing events of 2,500 years ago with those of today, Falk said, “International law does not allow Israel to bulldoze Palestinian homes to make space for the mayor’s project to build a garden, or anything else.” In fact, the area in question is known as The King’s Garden because it is mentioned by that name in the Biblical Books of Kings and Jeremiah.

      Jewish tradition and historians agree that the area, located below the City of David, also known as Silwan or Shiloach, served Kings David and Solomon. Though it was purposely kept pristine by the Ottoman and British governments, and remained that way under Jordanian rule as well, Arabs have built nearly 90 pirate buildings there since 1967, without authorization and without basic infrastructures.

      Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat's plan, which has now been approved by the city’s governing coalition, calls for the retroactive approval of 66 of the illegal houses, land grants for the remaining illegal squatters for the construction of new and larger houses, and turning much of the King's Garden area into a green area that will be preserved as a historic treasure.