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New Head of UN Gaza Probe Expected to Be More Favorable Toward Israel

US Judge Mary McGowan Davis to Replace William Schabas, Who Announced His Resignation on Monday

i24news—US Judge Mary McGowan-Davis, who will head the United Nations Human Rights Council inquiry into last summer’s conflict between Israel and Gaza following William Schabas’ resignation, is expected to be much more balanced with regards to Israel.

An acting justice on the supreme court of the state of New York from 1986 to 1998, McGowan Davis is a renowned expert on transitional justice and human rights law.

She led the UNHRC’s committee that implemented the findings of the Goldstone report in 2009. At the time, Israel provided her with documentation and substantial information surrounding Israel’s inquiries into Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Haaretz reported.

McGowan-Davis released a report following the affair, in which she criticized Israel for carrying out lengthy inquiries, but at the same time noted that “Israel devoted substantial resources to investigating more than 400 complaints of improper behavior in Gaza.” She also commended Israel for carrying out thorough investigations in an appropriate manner.

Her report was one of the factors that led to Goldstone writing an article in which he rescinded some of the conclusions of his investigation into Operation Cast Lead, specifically regarding claims that the Israeli army deliberately targeted citizens in the enclave.

In his article, Goldstone pointed to McGowan-Davis’ report as providing useful information that would have led to the creation of a very different document had it been available.

Israel call for UN inquiry to be shelved

Schabas announced his resignation Monday following Israeli allegations of bias due to consultancy work he did in the past for the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Israel reacted with satisfaction to the news of his resignation and called for the report to be shelved.

“Following the resignation of the panel’s chairman, who was biased against Israel, the UN Human Rights Council—an anti-Israel entity that has proven its decisions have nothing to do with human rights—should shelve the report it instigated,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In 2014, the council adopted more resolutions against Israel than against Iran, Syria and North Korea, combined, the PM added. “Hamas, other terror organizations and terror-supporting regimes around us are the ones that should be investigated,” Netanyahu further added.

Israel complained to the Commission that Schabas had done a consulting job for the PLO regarding its standing in international organizations and its possible accession to the International Criminal Court.

Schabas, a Canadian human rights lawyer, was appointed last August by the Human Rights Council to lead a three-member team looking into alleged war crimes during Israel’s military offensive in Gaza—Operation Protective Edge.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Schabas resignation “proves that even the most hypocritical international bodies cannot ignore the fact that appointing Schabas was like appointing Cain to investigate who killed Abel.”

The head of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Yariv Levine, said that the Schabas appointment “was flawed from the start and with his resignation the whole committee should be dissolved.”

But Schabas maintains that contrary to Israel’s claims, he was not anti-Israel and that he has visited Israel “many times.”

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