Saturday, January 19, 2008

What Is Hidden

The NYTimes interspaces this in its report on Gaza today:-

A United Nations official in Geneva on Saturday condemned Israel’s actions, particularly the bombing on Friday of an empty Hamas Interior Ministry building in a Gaza City neighborhood. Shrapnel from the missile strike killed a woman and wounded up to 46 people, some of them children, who were celebrating at a wedding party next door.

The official, John Dugard, who works on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said the Israelis who were responsible “for such cowardly action” resulting in civilian casualties “are guilty of serious war crimes and should be prosecuted and punished for their crimes.” He said that the attack on the building “near a wedding party venue” was carried out “with what must have been foreseen loss of life and injury to many civilians.”

John Dugrad, eh? "Cowardly"? "Serious"? "Forseen"?

These are words of judgment not fact. Sujective not objective.

But let's get back to Dugard.

John Dugard, born in 1936 in Fort Beaufort, is a South African professor of international law. John Dugard was appointed as Chairman of a UN Commission on Human Rights inquiry commission on the situation of human rights there in 2000. In 2001, he was appointed as Special Rapporteur to the Commission and has submitted annual reports and recommendations to the UN concerning the situation of international human rights and humanitarian law.

In his report to the 4th session of the Human Rights Council, Dugard stated, "Discrimination against Palestinians occurs in many fields. Moreover, the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid appears to be violated by many practices, particularly those denying freedom of movement to Palestinians."

In a report released in February 2007, Dugard ”announced that Israel's policies resemble those of apartheid."..."It is difficult to resist the conclusion that many of Israel's laws and practices violate the 1966 Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination," says the report.

Referring to Israel's actions in the occupied West Bank, he wrote, "Can it seriously be denied that the purpose [...] is to establish and maintain domination by one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians) and systematically oppressing them? Israel denies that this is its intention or purpose. But such an intention or purpose may be inferred from the actions described in this report."

Dugard has been criticized.

Consider the following five facts about our newly named fact-finder:

1. The mandate of special rapporteur on Palestine -- created in 1993 by the discredited and now defunct UN Commission on Human Rights -- is to investigate only violations by Israel, a one-sided duty John Dugard has zealously embraced since his appointment to the post in 2001. His reports stand out, even by UN standards, for their virulently anti-Israel prejudice. Not only does Dugard systematically ignore Palestinian acts of terror and their victims, but he has gone so far as to laud Palestinian "militarized groups armed with rifles, mortars, and Kassam-2 rockets [who] confront the [Israeli army] with new determination, daring, and success."

2. ...Mr. Dugard has the dubious distinction of being the only appointee of the UN who regularly rails against the UN-sponsored Quartet and its Road Map for Middle East Peace. Last summer, he even managed to convince seven other UN experts to join him in this bizarre line of attack.

3. Mr. Dugard's presentation on Wednesday at the Special Session dutifully lambasted the Quartet several times, suggesting that the UN's membership in the grouping rendered it pro-Israel. (Yes, and Al Qaeda is too pro-American.) "Whether [the EU and the UN] can act as 'honest brokers' while remaining members of the Quartet is, however, questionable."...

4. Much worse, though, was the opening of his Wednesday presentation. "At the outset I wish to make it clear that I have every sympathy for Corporal Gilad Shalit; and indeed for all Israel's young soldiers compelled to serve in the army of an occupying power." (emphasis added) In other words, Professor Dugard could not bring himself to express sympathy for the captured soldier without wrapping it in a sharp stab, drenched with cynicism, at Israel's morality...

5. In his August 2005 report, Dugard for the first time broke instructions and explained that he felt compelled to address Palestinian violations as well. Would Dugard finally say a few words about Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism? No. What caused him to break his instructions was an issue of Palestinian victims -- those who suffer from the Palestinian Authority death penalty. "The Special Rapporteur's mandate," Dugard acknowledged, "does not extend to human rights violations committed by the Palestinian Authority. It would, however, be irresponsible for a human rights special rapporteur to allow the execution of Palestinian prisoners to go unnoticed. . . The Special Rapporteur expresses the hope that these executions were aberrations and that the Palestinian Authority will in future refrain from this form of punishment." (August 2005 report.)

Nothing wrong with protesting a justice system whose methods make IRA "knee-capping" look tame by comparison. What is shocking, though, is that Dugard for the first time demonstrated that he is perfectly free in his reports to reference the terror faced daily by Israeli civilians -- more than 140 separate suicide attacks, and 13,730 shooting attacks, over the past four years -- and free to mention the attempted mega-terror attacks against Israeli skyscrapers, ports and fuel depots, which could easily have taken the lives of thousands more. All of this, Dugard has shown, he is free to mention. He simply chooses not to. To paraphrase Dugard's moral justification of his mandate as quoted above, it is, apparently, perfectly responsible for a human rights special rapporteur to allow the killing of Israelis to go unnoticed.

And check here, too.

So, good ol' NYTimes. When youcan include a quite biased opinion against Israel, then by all means do so, without balance, of course.

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