Israel could be considered deserving of more blame for its actions in the Lebanon war than Hizbullah, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post Thursday.
Arbour spoke to the Post in Tel Aviv on the tail end of a five-day trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories. The visit came on the heels of international condemnation and charges of human rights violations following an IDF strike in Beit Hanun in which 19 civilians were accidentally killed.
According to criminal law, "there is very little distinction between recklessness and intent," she said. "It is a small distinction as to whether you desire the result, or you foresee it as virtually certain and you do not care. In terms of culpability there is not a lot of difference between recklessness and intent."[....]
Asked by the Post if there was a distinction under human rights law between missile attacks aimed at killing civilians and military strikes in which civilians are unintentionally killed, Arbour said the two could not be equated.
"In one case you could have, for instance, a very objectionable intent - the intent to harm civilians, which is very bad - but effectively not a lot of harm is actually achieved," she said....
[I]n looking at the two groups, she found that the lack of human rights was "particularly acute in the occupied Palestinian territory."
Such profound hatred of civility gives a whole new sense to Milton's line: "Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves." But in a rare fit of fairness, I must admit that perhaps Arbour has had a change of heart and is no longer the legalistic philistine she was a few years ago. Let's see:
The Israeli army estimates about 250 rockets and mortar rounds have pounded Israel since last week. Israeli troops killed more than 30 Palestinians over the same period.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, in a speech on Wednesday, denounced Israel's "Disproportionate use of force and targeted killings" As well as Palestinian militants' firing of rockets into Israel.
Arbour, a former UN War crimes prosecutor, told the forum that international law forbids collective punishment and said Israel should lift all restrictions on aid intended for Gaza.
"All parties concerned should put an end to the vicious spiral of violence before it becomes unstoppable," she warned.
GENEVA, Switzerland: The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday demanded Israel lift its week-long blockade of Gaza, rebuking the Jewish state for the third time for violations in the Palestinian territories since the forum was set up in 2006.
Delegations from the United States and Israel, which both have observer status at the Council, boycotted the two-day session, diplomats said.
Canada was the lone vote against it.
Now, I could have sworn I was on the bus, but I truly missed the stop where it made sense that a Canadian civil servant, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Arbour, could stand up and contradict the government just because she feels like it. She was appointed, she can be recalled.
This is simply one more case of extra-legal opinionators making statements based on feel-good and ya-ya. These public fools have a physical effect, and too often that effect is death-- of others. It cannot go on like this without some break in the system. No one must die just because it upsets Ms. Arbour to see them live. Those who live in Canada cannot continue to allow this kind of fundamental outrage to go on in their names. High Commissioner or not, Ms. Arbour is condoning murder of innocent civilians by playing to the gallery. That, dear reader, strikes me as a war crime.