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Saturday, December 2, 2006

ADL slams UN body for making Tutu head of Beit Hanun mission

Last update - 12:01 30/11/2006

ADL slams UN body for making Tutu head of Beit Hanun mission

By Haaretz Service

The Anti-Defamation League on Thursday blasted the United Nations Human Rights
Council for appointing Desmond Tutu as head of its fact-finding mission to the
northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun.

The mission is charged with investigating a botched Israel Defense Forces
shelling in Beit Hanun which killed 19 Palestinian civilians.

"The appointment of Desmond Tutu as head of the fact-finding mission to Beit
Hanun is an extension of the anti-Israel kangaroo court tactics used by the UN
Human Rights Council," said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman.

"No fact-finding mission can produce balanced and trustworthy results if its
leader professes to know all the answers beforehand.

"Tutu has already publicly expressed his anti-Israel views and his opinions
regarding what happened in Beit Hanun, and combined with the one-sided
anti-Israel mandate provided by the resolution, the results of the mission are
all-but preordained," he added.

The council, which has censured only Israel in its six-month existence,
recently passed a resolution calling for a mission to "assess the situation of
victims, address the needs of survivors, and make recommendations on ways and
means to protect Palestinian civilians against further Israeli assaults."

Tutu, the former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, has spoken out against
Israel in the past and publicly denounced the Beit Hanun operation.

"It is an outrage that cries out to heaven and we must condemn it
unequivocally as we do the atrocities committed by suicide bombers against
Israeli civilians," Tutu said.

Tutu said Thursday he was "honored" that the United Nations had asked him to
lead a fact-finding mission. "I hope that our mission will advance the cause
of peace and stability for Palestinian and Israeli alike, and contribute to
halt the awful carnage and bloodletting," he said.

"I believe fervently that it is possible for Arab and Jew to live amicably
together," he added.

Foxman has condemned the UN Human Rights Council - an effort to reform and
replace the UN Commission on Human Rights - an "overwhelming failure." The
organization has been widely criticized for concentrating its efforts on
condemnations of Israel, and Foxman branded its replacement a political tool
of its Arab and Muslim majority.

The ADL said the new UN Human Rights Council has "ignored the world's worst
human rights atrocities and instead has pursued Israel for political gain."

The 47-member council, which earlier this year replaced the discredited Human
Rights Commission, has been severely criticized by some countries, including
the United States, for moving four times to condemn Israel but not taking up
human rights violations in Myanmar, North Korea or Sudan.

The Council has come under similar criticism from outgoing Secretary-General
Kofi Annan.

"From the day it opened for business, the UN Human Rights Council has never
operated with any moral authority," Foxman said in a statement released on

"The Council has failed in its most fundamental purpose: to monitor human
rights abuses in all parts of the world. Instead, it has become a political
tool wielded by its Arab and Muslim members who have the power of an automatic
majority. The Council has ignored the world's worst human rights atrocities
and instead has pursued Israel for political gain."

Earlier this month, the Council condemned an IDF artillery attack that killed
20 civilians in the northern Gaza Strip and ordered an on-site investigation
by UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour.

The organization made no reference to Palestinian Qassam attacks. But when
Arbour visited the area last week, she and her party were nearly hit by a
Qassam that slammed into the Negev town of Sderot, in a salvo that killed a
local factory worker.

"Closing in on six months since its first meeting, the Council has held one
regular session and three special sessions and has yet to address a single
state besides Israel," the ADL said in the statement. "The Council passed two
resolutions yesterday condemning Israel while ignoring other more pressing
problems around the world."

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