Point-blank: Israeli thuggery

Mohamed Salmawy
Sunday 6 Mar 2022

Israel continues with its abuses undeterred by an international community forever harping on human rights and commitments to international agreements.

The Israeli government has recently announced its refusal to cooperate with the special commission established by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate Israeli rights violations against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. It will not even allow commission members into Israel. The reply to the council from the Israeli ambassador to the UN reiterated the same line Israel feeds to every UN agency from UNESCO and UNHCR to the General Assembly: the commission is “biased” against Israel. 

In fact the special commission was formed in May after Israeli missile strikes against Gaza killed 260 Palestinians, including dozens of women and children. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet joined many international human rights organisations in describing the Israeli strikes, some of which targeted residential neighbourhoods, as war crimes. But the inquiry is not just about that. The commission’s task is to probe Israeli human rights abuses throughout the occupied territories, as well as against Arab citizens of Israel.

Now where is the voice of the international community? Why have Western governments, which take every occasion to boast of their vigilance over human rights, not said a word about the Israeli decision to boycott the Human Rights Council’s commission? Why has there not been a peep from the Western media, some quarters of which never tire of demanding freezes on aid to certain countries they accuse of human rights violation. 

This is not the first time Israel has barred investigatory commissions from entry on the grounds that they are pro-Palestinian and anti-Semitic, a charge it levelled against the International Criminal Court in Hague when the court launched an investigation into Israeli war crimes and human rights violations in the Occupied Territories. More and more rights organisations, such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and similar organisations in Israel, have begun to publicly accuse Israel of apartheid.

Have Western governments, parliaments and media plugged their ears? Are human rights to them a weapon to be used against us while Israel is given free rein to practise thuggery?

*A version of this article appears in print in the 3 March, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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