In May of last year, the UN Human Rights Council established a commission of inquiry dedicated to investigating “alleged violations” of international humanitarian law and human-rights law “leading up to and since April 12, 2021” in Israel and what it terms “the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” The commission recently released the first of its reports, which, as could be expected, finds extensive but dubious Israeli wrongdoing, while ignoring Hamas’s war crimes and abuses of its own people. Joe Truzman provides a window into how this happens:
UN investigators have difficulty processing information that points toward misconduct by Palestinian armed factions. Four years ago, a UN team investigating the violent 2018-2019 Gaza protests interviewed me to discuss my research. The team was looking at the role of Palestinian militant organizations in fomenting the unrest, commonly known as the Great March of Return.
The lead investigator questioned me on a range of subjects related to the riots, such as how I obtained evidence of terrorist activity at the Gaza border and my opinion on how Palestinian militant organizations were involved in the Gaza protests. My evidence was derived from various open-source channels, and it was compelling: Hamas and like-minded militant groups such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) were orchestrating attacks at the security fence between Israel and Gaza under the guise of civilian protest.
The UN investigators conducted interviews with participants from both sides of the conflict, as well as independent analysts. They obtained thousands of documents. Yet their final report in 2019 said almost nothing about the role of Hamas and other militants in orchestrating riots that targeted Israeli troops and installations. Instead, the report focused on Israel’s responses without explaining that Hamas-led militant activity was largely responsible for spurring the clashes.