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Nitsana Dahan-Leitner, sitting in the Tel Aviv offices of Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center discusses the challenges Israel faces from the United Nations in coming weeks.

Her calm and almost tranquil manner of speaking is in stark contrast to the intense protests Israel is facing in the UN Human Rights Council (COI) and the three-member Commission of Inquiry [COI] who was appointed by the UN to examine “in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem all allegations of violations of international humanitarian law and any alleged violations of international law relating to human rights up to and after April 13th, 2021.”

While Israel was the investigation of the UN in the past, it is obvious that this investigation was designed to continue and examine Israel as well as its IDF. The duration of the commission is not yet set.

Darshan-Leitner, who founded Shurat HaDin, explained that “the UN Human Rights Council Investigation is not coming from the air”. It is related to the work of the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

In 1998, the Rome Statute established the ICC. The court has the authority to prosecute individuals for crimes such as genocide , and human rights violations. The US, Israel and many other nations have not agreed to ratify or signed the statute. They are therefore not legally bound to abide the decisions of the ICC.

Fatou Bensouda the ICC prosecutor from The Hague announced in March 2021 that she would be initiating a war crime investigation against Israel, Hamas, and other nations.

An International Court decision against Israel could have significant implications. The court is part of the majority of European and Scandinavian nations and are legally bound by law to observe its decisions. Any Israeli soldier serving in IDF operations that involved war crimes could be held accountable if the ICC rules that they did. Harsh economic penalties could be placed on the Jewish State as well as the banking industry.

Israel might be facing further threats, like sanctions, weapons embargoes, or boycotts. El Al, or other Israeli carriers could be restricted from operating in specific countries.

Bensouda was appointed prosecutor in June 2021. Karim Kan, a British barrister, was named her successor. Bensouda’s 14 cases with eight of them in the process of being completed, were transferred to the new prosecutor. Darshan Leitner explained that, to the horror of Palestinians they were shocked, he classified things on the docket of his court as “in the process of preparation”. This polite way of saying the claims were not of sufficient merit or urgency that warranted the court’s focus.

Darshan Leitner claims Darshan Leitner says “this caused a lot of anger to the Palestinian Authority.” “They were unable to comprehend why their immense efforts to have the prosecutor open an investigation have stalled.”

The PA asked for the establishment of a commission in the International Court of Justice in September 2021. This was done to spur Karim Khan’s decision to alter his mind about the ICC’s probe of Israel.

Darshan Leitner said that the war crimes committed by Israel continue to be carried out by the PA since the time of Darshan Leitner’s statement. Amnesty International’s February report inflicted blame on Israel for its apartheid policies as well as beyond the Green Line. According to the report, Israel “has created and sustained an institutionalized regime for oppression” towards Palestinians. The report also claimed that Israel of discrimination against racial groups of Palestinians since 1948.

Darshan Leitner explains that the Palestinian claims against Israel at the International Criminal Court focus on two distinct areas. IDF military operation and Israeli settlements. Darshan Leitner believes these areas constitute war crimes.

The Palestinians are urging Karim Khan, the head of the ICC prosecution, to prioritize the probe into Israel under the “apartheid” accusation. This is a new claim that is not part of the preliminary investigation Bensouda conducted. But, they believe that “whatever is causing these investigations to go on to be legitimate and does not matter which one it is, or whether it is factual,” she states.

KARIM KHAN, new ICC prosecutor. (Credit: Michael Kooren/Reuters)
The three-member Commission of Inquiry, headed by Navi Pillay (South Africa) and comprising Miloon Kthari (India) and Chris Sidoti [Australia), is the most recent attempt to convince The Hague.

Darshan Leitner declares Darshan Leitner states that Pillay Kothari, Sidoti, and Kothari have a long history of biases against Israel. “Pillay, herself, has made accusations against Israel for its apartheid policies. It was her spokesman behind the antisemitic Durban conferences. Others are not too far in the same direction.”

From February 28 through April 1, UN Human Rights Council (HRC49) will host the 49th session.

It is expected that the primary focus of the session will be the report that the inquiry commission will release about Operation Guardian of the Walls, the Israeli operation in Gaza which took place in May 2021 as a reaction to the missiles Hamas launched at Israel. Israel is likely to be accused of war crimes, apartheid, as well as crimes against humanity in this session.

Darshan Leitner stated that the State of Israel would not cooperate or be involved with the inquiry commission. Shurat HaDin, however can’t afford to overlook the accusations likely to be made by this inquiry.

Darshan Leitner states that there are two ways to counter the Pillay Commission. “One is the practical response that addresses the claims of apartheid. nitsana darshan leitner The second is the personal aspect that focuses on its members’ resentment.

She states that prior experiences have shown that Shurat HaDin, or any other person will not be able influence people already unfavourable towards Israel to alter their opinions.

She proposes that Shurat HaDin should instead demonstrate that all members of the inquiry are biased towards Israel and that the UN will sacrifice its values, fairness, and perception of fairness to undermine the legitimacy of Israel.

Darshan Leitner: “We are going to start a campaign which demands that all COI member.” “We will organize mass petitions against the COI and its members, and any other person who assists this committee,” Darshan-Leitner added.

Shurat HaDin, on other hand, is going to try to show that the PA is the most serious violation of human rights. “We are going to scan their laws and uncover what we can – the discrimination against children, women as well as the LGBTQ community, and their flawed legal system. Are you aware that, in accordance with PA law, one is allowed to legally rape his wife? Marital rape is not an offense under their ‘advanced human-rights-friendly’ legislation.

This is only one example of the UN’s ‘champions for human rights who the UN is eager to help. They claim Israel which is a genuine democracy, of apartheid. However, they support the dictatorship which has not had elections for over fifteen years and frequently violates human rights the citizens of its own.

Darshan-Leitner says that Shurat HaDin will also expose to the world how minorities are treated in Gaza and the PA and Gaza.” nitsana darshan leitner The fate of Christians in the PA territories and Gaza is set,” she asserts. Their numbers are constantly decreasing. They are growing.

Shurat haDin leader believes Israel committed a grave error when it dealt with the UNHRC earlier inquiry commission led by Richard Goldstone (South African jurist). Jerusalem did not want to cooperate with the Goldstone Commission after it found out that the Goldstone Commission was biased in its agenda. Israel was badly hurt by the negative final report’s fallout.

“While I think Israel was correct to refuse to aid or cooperate in the infamous Goldstone Witch Hunt, I’m not sure we played the right cards. nitsana darshan leitner It is not enough to simply not pay attention to the UNHRC and call them as racist and sexist. The government had to back its decision by launching an organized campaign to deter and disseminate the anti-Semitic UNHRC. She suggests that we engage in legal actions and act in cases where the government is in the middle.”

Darshan-Leitner seeks to fill this gap this time around. She summarizes the current situation and says the PA’s goal is ultimately to influence The Hague’s chief procuror. So, “if I can uproot the foundation of the commission to expose how erroneous it is, how the argument of apartheid is wrong and is more suited to the PA, it will show that the commission is not of any worth.

“If this isn’t done, it will result in poor outcomes. The prosecutor could be influenced, and may alter his mind. This would be a terrible and catastrophic development. This cannot be allowed to happen.”