by JNS and Israel Hayom Staff
Retired U.S. Lt. Col. Geoffrey S. Corn, retired British commander Col. Richard Kemp accuse U.N. Human Rights Council of promoting false claims and warn diplomats, member states that biased report will further incentivize Hamas' exploitation of Gazans.
Col. Richard Kemp Photo: Yoni Reif, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies
In testimony delivered at the United Nations on Monday morning, retired U.S. Lt. Col. Geoffrey S. Corn and renowned retired British commander Col. Richard Kemp refuted a U.N. Human Rights Council report that accuses Israeli soldiers of "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity" on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip.
Joining a panel of four experts hosted by independent human rights group U.N. Watch, Corn and Kemp accused the Commission of Inquiry of promoting false claims in its report, and warned diplomats and member states that the biased report will only further incentivize Hamas' exploitation of Gazans and increase the chance of other illicit armed groups enlisting against Israel, the United States and its allies in the future.
Simultaneously in the morning plenary session, the U.N. Human Rights Council called on the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights "to manage the dossiers on alleged perpetrators [IDF soldiers], to be provided to … the International Criminal Court."
Several member states welcomed the UNHRC report, including some of the most serious human rights abusers – Saudi Arabia, Syria, Venezuela, Iraq, Russia and Pakistan.
Providing testimony on the report, Corn – a former U.S. Army senior law of war adviser, author and research professor – presented findings from a Jewish Institute for National Security of America report, written by top former commanders of the U.S. Army, and responded to structural, legal and operational fallacies in the UNHRC hearing.
"By omitting from the UNHRC inquiry reports the use of human shields by Hamas, the report incentivizes these terror tactics in the future, and the risk posed to the civilian population of Gaza is exacerbated. If we are really concerned about mitigating harm done to civilians, we should be condemning Hamas's actions and this report," he said.
Kemp, a national security expert, author and former commander of British forces in Afghanistan who testified before the UNHRC investigation in December and has visited the Gaza border himself, agreed.
"The United Nations has played directly into Hamas's hand, and the UNHRC is but an instrument of Hamas terrorism. This report, as well as countries that vote for it, encourage Hamas towards further terrorism in the future," he said, adding that his personal testimony to the commission of inquiry had been completely ignored in the production of the report.
Also providing testimony were Einat Wilf, co-author of "The War of Return" and an expert on the Palestinian narrative of the "right of return," and Joe Truzman, a researcher, investigative journalist and editor for the "GroundBrief" Middle East newsletter.
Wilf explained that understanding the Palestinian marchers' motivation for rioting on the Gaza border was crucial in order to properly understand the Israeli response.
"Those who come to the border marching in the name of the so-called 'right of return' are not rioting against Israel's blockade, but rather, are coming to destroy Israel. This needs to be understood clearly as a declaration of war and nothing less than that," she explained. "The Israeli response cannot be understood if this is not understood."
Truzman presented evidence exposing a number of false accusations as well as the omission of key facts in the UNHRC Commission of Inquiry, including evidence that five of the "victims of IDF gunfire" named by the inquiry were actually members of terrorist groups, including Hamas in Gaza.
"At least five militants killed at the March of Return are mentioned in the COI report, without reference to their militant background. Some children in [the] COI report were members of militant groups. Contrary to [the] COI report, Palestinians present during 'March of Return' demonstrations and riots were armed. Such militant activity is still present within Palestinian border units," said Truzman.
Following the testimony, hundreds gathered to take part in a "Rally for Equal Rights" to protest the UNHRC's unprecedented assault on Israel that saw the organization present several reports accusing Israel of war crimes. The rally was organized by a coalition of 24 organizations that oppose anti-Semitism and anti-Israel prejudice.
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