Israeli officials testified before the United Nations in Geneva on Monday regarding the Jewish state’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
Along with Israeli ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva Eviator Manor, Israeli Ministry of Justice Director-General Emi Palmor, Deputy Attorney General for International Law Roy S. Schondorf, and Col. Noam Neuman-who heads the IDF’s International Law Department-defended Israel’s human rights record, particularly with regards to the Palestinians.
“At this stage it is the only U.N. forum to which Israel will provide information with regard to Operation Protective Edge,” a Justice Ministry spokeswoman said on Sunday, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The International Covenant is managed by the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and its Human Rights Committee is a separate entity from the better-known U.N. Human Rights Council, which is holding its own investigation of Israel’s actions during this summer’s war with Hamas. The Rights Council probe is headed by Canadian human rights expert William Schabas, prompting Israel to refuse to cooperate over Schabas’s past anti-Israel statements.
In time for Monday’s testimony, Israel had submitted a detailed report on the state of many issues in the country such as gender, LGBT, child, and minority rights.
During the questioning, when committee member Cornelis Flinterman brought up the death of about 2,000 Palestinians during this summer’s Gaza war, Manor noted that Israel had to launch airstrikes on Gaza in response to hundreds of rockets fired at Israel by Hamas and to June’s kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.
The Israeli officials were also questioned on the demolition of Palestinian homes.
“Israel’s policy of using house demolition for the purpose of deterrence is implemented only in exceptional circumstances,” Neuman said, Reuters reported.