The full speech at UNHRC

Israeli ambassador speaks to UN Human Rights Council.

Ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter ,

UN Human Rights Council
UN Human Rights Council
צילום: Mike Segar, רויטרס

Thank you Mr. President,

Four years… It took this Council four years to relapse to its worse form of anti-Israel obsession. This Special Session, the Resolution before you, and its call for a Commission of Inquiry are yet again politically motivated and won’t improve the situation on the ground by even one iota.

Already at the outset, let me make one thing clear: We don't see the people of Gaza as our enemies, and Israel deeply regrets any civilian loss of life. Israel unilaterally disengage from Gaza in summer 2005. There is no occupation in Gaza. It is a myth. But the unfortunate outcome of Monday's riots can only be attributed to Hamas's cynical exploitation of its own population, in a violent campaign against Israel.

It is regrettable that so many Member States allowed themselves to be misled by the false narrative of so-called "peaceful protests". By supporting the convening of this session they unwisely embolden the Hamas terror organization. There is nothing peaceful in Molotov cocktails, explosive devices and meat-cleavers.

Furthermore, it is shameful that the Palestinian Authority is willingly taking part in the implementation of Hamas’s strategy, which is also to harass and violate the human rights of its own population. Let me remind you that this is the same Palestinian Authority which refuses to transfer funds and salaries to Gaza, and remains surprisingly silent about the plight and death of thousands of Palestinians in the Yarmouk camp in Syria.

The tactic used by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is anything but new. Their cynical cycle of death follows an all too familiar pattern:

Incite people to violence

Place as many civilians as possible – including women, children and journalists – in the line of fire to maximize civilian casualties

Blame Israel

Complain to the UN

Unfortunately, what this Special Session has already succeeded in doing is to empower Hamas and reward its terror strategy and its use of civilians as human shields to advance its terror activities against the citizens of Israel.

We have long known that the Human Rights of Israelis are not on the agenda of this Council. Now we see that neither are the rights of Gazans.

These violent confrontations along the fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip, are being provoked by deliberate Palestinian attacks, and orchestrated by the Hamas terror organization which has been ruthlessly ruling the Gaza Strip since 2007.

If you do not want to believe me, just listen to what Palestinian leaders themselves say:

On May 16, Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, a senior Hamas official, said on Palestinian TV: “This is not “peaceful demonstration”. This resistance is bolstered by [Hamas] military force and by security agencies.”

On March 30, Yahya Sinwar, Hamas leader in Gaza said that the riots would continue "until the fence is erased." He told the rioters that "if you are hungry, go eat the livers of the Israeli residents."

On May 16, Salah Al-Bardawil, a Hamas political bureau member, proudly admitted on TV that: “In the last round of confrontations, out of the 62 people who died on May 14th, 50 were Hamas members.”

On May 15, a Hamas terrorist captured by IDF soldiers after he had entered into Israel, said: “Hamas tells women to go forward to the front line of the riots. You are a woman, go forward the army does not shoot women. They tell young children to go forward: The army does not shoot young children. They trick them.”

These statements as well as large amounts of footage and credible intelligence prove beyond all doubt the direct responsibility and complicity of Hamas in the orchestration of these violent riots.

So yes,

faced with life-threatening Molotov cocktails and incendiary kites aimed at setting fire to our communities, Israel defends itself.

When explosive devices are thrown at soldiers and placed along the fence, Israel defends itself.

When armed terrorists violate Israel’s sovereignty with the intention - and I quote – “to slaughter the Jews”, Israel defends itself.

When Hamas digs terror tunnels under Israel’s border to kill or capture innocents, Israel defends itself.

Israel defends itself, just as any other country in this chamber would do when faced with such an aggression.

It is not a choice, but an obligation towards our citizens.

Israel's obligation to defend its citizens is a principle enshrined in international law.

Mr. President,

It is Israel, certainly not Hamas, which makes a real effort to minimize casualties among Palestinian civilians. Israeli commanders and soldiers are guided by international law in their actions. The IDF took all available precautionary measures and has warned residents of the danger they would face should they engage in violent riots. But Hamas urged them to be on the front line as human shields, hiding terrorists, and endangering their lives.

Moreover, let alone the fact that Hamas ordered Gazans to reject the receipt of medical supplies sent by Israel on their side of the Keren Shalom crossing.

Israel is not immune to criticism. Israel is conducting independent and transparent investigations on any credible accusation or reasonable suspicion of alleged wrongdoing. The IDF maintains a robust, multi-layered investigations system, with numerous checks and balances to ensure impartiality before investigative, administrative, and judicial authorities. And Israel’s thorough investigations have been proved to meet the highest standards.

Mr. President,

It is deplorable that this Council, which pretends to be interested in the truth, turns a blind eye to the reality on the ground, and unjustifiably condemns Israel for protecting its population.

The loss of life could have been avoided had Hamas refrained from sending terrorists to attack Israel under the cover of the riots, while exploiting its own civilian population as human shields. This unnecessary resolution should have been avoided, because of the credibility of Israel's robust investigative mechanisms, and its steadfast respect of IHL.

You now have the facts before you. We urge you not to be fooled by the distorted narrative presented to you by the Palestinians.

Preserve the last remains of decency that this Council has and reject the resolution before you.

I urge you to do so.

Thank you.