William Schabas, whose appointment to head a UN investigation into last summer’s Gaza war was vigorously opposed by Israel, has stepped down following the revelation of evidence linking him to the Palestinian regime.
The UN has been eager to launch a formal commission of inquiry into alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza, and last August put together a three-judge panel tasked with doing just that.
But the commission was immediately assailed as biased and unnecessary not only by Israel, but by the United States and the European Union, as well. At the time, Hamas said the commission could expect as much cooperation from it as from Israel, meaning none.
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time called the commission a “kangaroo court” whose findings were “predetermined,” noting that Schabas, a Canadian professor teaching in the UK, had previously called for the prosecution of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former President Shimon Peres for alleged war crimes
Schabas likewise asserted that past Israeli offenses against the Gaza terrorists (in 2009 and 2012) were more severe than any other crises taking place in the world. And this at a time when the full number of those killed and displaced in Darfur was coming to light and when hundreds of thousands were experiencing the same and worse in neighboring Syria.
Naming Schabas to the panel “proves beyond any doubt that Israel cannot expect justice from such a body,” a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement read.
It would now seem that assessment was justified, as Schabas has something of a history with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which controls the Palestinian Authority.
Reuters reported that week that in 2012, Schabas was paid to provide legal consultation to the PLO. This was after some of his earlier outbursts against Israel and its leaders, suggesting the PLO chose Schabas for the job precisely because of his negative view of the Jewish state.
In his letter of resignation to the UN commission on Monday, Schabas remained unrepentant, insisting he had been the victim of “malicious attacks” by those determined to halt the wheels of justice.
Schabas asserted that his past work for the PLO was no different than the consultations he had provided many governments and organizations. He failed to acknowledge that prior to being transformed into the Palestinian Authority, the PLO was the world’s foremost terrorist organization, the “Al Qaeda of its day.”