Daily Israel Report

Akunis: How Can Schabas be Taken Seriously?

Likud MK dismisses UN's probe on Gaza, points out the anti-Israel stance of the head of the panel, William Schabas.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/18/2014, 7:22 AM

Ofir Akunis
Ofir Akunis
Flash 90

MK Ofir Akunis (Likud) dismissed on Sunday the United Nations’ probe into Israel’s alleged “war crimes” in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.

In a post on his Facebook page, Akunis pointed out the statements against Israel and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that have been made in the past by the head of the United Nations Human Rights Council panel, William Schabas.

“Hello William Schabas, after you have failed to recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization. And after you have already stated that Israel has committed crimes against humanity and said that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is the most dangerous man to survival of Israel and the person he would most like to see in the Hague. After all this, you still think anyone could believe that the committee that you have been appointed head of is objective, serious, and in touch with reality?” he wrote.

Akunis also pointed out a serious error made by Schabas, who fingered Netanyahu for Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2009, even though that operation took place when Netanyahu was leader of the opposition and Ehud Olmert was Prime Minister.

“And after a renowned professor of international law such as yourself could get wrong the most basic of facts such as blaming Prime Minister Netanyahu for his actions in Operation ‘Cast Lead’, while in fact the Prime Minister at the time was Mr. Ehud Olmert. Could this be taken seriously?” he wrote.

“This is simply not serious at all. In fact the only serious thing that an honorable man could do, is to one step down from the position he has been appointed to,” concluded Akunis.

Since being tapped for the UNHRC Gaza probe, Schabas did not deny in an interview last Wednesday with Israel's Channel 2 that the international community has a double standard regarding Israel's conduct of war.

In that same interview, Schabas refused to define Hamas as a terrorist organization, saying he would need to consult with the two other members of the UNHRC committee before stating an opinion to avoid any "predispositions" in judgement.

A video from a 2013 panel recently surfaced, in which Schabas clearly revealed his eagerness to prosecute Israel over its actions in Gaza, even if that involved “twisting things and maneuvering” in the international legal arena.

Akunis’s post was referring to another video which was exposed on Sunday, and in which Schabas said, “Frankly, if I had to think of an individual who would be the greatest threat for the survival of Israel, I'd probably choose Netanyahu.”

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman has called on Israel not to cooperate with the UN’s probe. Finance Minister Yair Lapid called the UNHRC committee "a ridiculous committee of ridiculous commissionership, that instead of investigating the murder of millions of Muslims by other Muslims, investigates the most moral army on the planet; this is a disgrace for the UN."