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Canada Slams UNHRC Gaza Committee 'Sham'

Canadian FM Baird says decision by UN to investigate 'war crimes' allegations against Israel is 'an utter shame and will do nothing.'
By Dalilt Halevy, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 8/14/2014, 7:29 AM

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird
Reuters

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird sharply criticized the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointment of a committee to investigate accusations of "war crimes" in Operation Protective Edge - a committee headed by an outspoken opponent of the Jewish state.

The "UN Human Rights Council continues to be a sham for advancing human rights. It's an utter shame and will do nothing to promote peace and dignity in Gaza for the Palestinian people," wrote Baird on his Twitter account Monday.

The Canadian minister has previously vocalized his criticism of the UNHRC probe, saying last month when it was announced that "Canada is frustrated and deeply disappointed that the UNHCR decided to completely ignore the abhorrent terrorist acts of Hamas."

Israel and the US have both rejected the three-man UNHRC committee which is headed by Prof. William Schabas, a Canadian law professor known for his open bias against Israel.

Schabas spoke in a 2013 panel, where he blatantly revealed his enthusiastic eagerness to have Israel tried over its defensive actions in Gaza, even if that involved “twisting things and maneuvering” in the international legal arena.

Likewise on Wednesday, in an interview on Israel's Channel 2, Schabas did not deny that the international community has a double standard regarding Israel's conduct of war. In that same interview, he refused to define Hamas as a terrorist group, claiming such a definition would affect his "neutrality."

The committee has come in for a wave of criticism from Israel, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday saying "the State of Israel must not cooperate with this commission. We need to contend with them and not grant legitimacy to enemies of Israel."

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also slammed the UNHRC over the move on Wednesday, accusing it of granting "legitimacy to terror organizations" by investigating Israel for alleged "war crimes."

For it's part, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has expressed "confidence" that the UNHRC committee will find Israel guilty of "war crimes, crimes against humanity."