UN insists on ‘sunset of the Israeli occupation’ before considering termination of ongoing probe – Middle East Monitor

The United Nations has resisted pressure from a US-led group who are demanding a “sunset” clause to the UN’s Commission of Inquiry (COI). Members of the world body are insisting that the UN would like to see a “sunset of the Israeli occupation” before its inquiry into alleged war crimes committed by the apartheid state is terminated.

Heading the group, US Ambassador Michele Taylor, said she was “deeply concerned” about COI, because of its “open-ended mandate with no sunset clause” or closing date. The countries, including Austria, Britain, Canada and Italy, demanded an end to what they called the “long-standing disproportionate attention given to Israel in the council.”

COI was formed in 2021 by the UN Human Rights Council following the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan. Israel’s attack on Muslim worshippers was followed by a bombardment of Gaza during a war with Hamas.

More than 253 people were killed, including 66 children and 35 women, after 11 days of indiscriminate attacks on the besieged population of Gaza. A further 2,000 were injured and tens of thousands were forced to flee their homes.

Around the same time as Israel’s offensive, armed far-right Jewish supremacist and settler groups attacked Palestinian homes and properties, sparking international condemnation. Communal violence also saw Jewish supremacists sharing selfies posing with guns and sharing messages such as “Tonight we are not Jews, we are Nazis.”

The UN reacted to the escalation by setting up the COI. The commission is charged with looking into “all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity.” It has published several reports since its formation, all highly critical of Israel.

READ: UN inquiry deems Israel’s occupation of Palestine ‘illegal’

Israel, which is strongly opposed to a probe, has slammed members of the commission as anti-Semitic. The apartheid state is refusing to cooperate with the investigation, citing what it says is longstanding bias against Israel at the UN.

Members of the COI responded to Taylor’s call for a sunset clause at a press conference in Geneva yesterday.  “We would like to see a sunset of the Israeli occupation… but until that time, an open-ended mandate is more than justified,” said Miloon Kothari, a member of the COI.

Source link