Palestinian resistance faction Hamas has blamed Israel for the resignation of the head of a commission formed by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate last summer’s Israeli military onslaught against the blockaded Gaza Strip.
The resignation of William Schabas from his post is “the inevitable result of Israeli… pressure on the commission,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement.
“Israeli pressure aims at preventing any legal action that would reveal the truth about Israeli crimes [during the Gaza onslaught],” he added.
Nevertheless, Barhoum urged the UN to go ahead with the probe and not to bow to “any pressure or blackmail against its investigative committees.”
On Monday, Schabas, a Canadian professor of international law, reportedly resigned from his post as head of the investigation committee due to Israeli allegations of bias.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday welcomed Schabas’ resignation and said the probe should be shelved in light of the move.
The Israeli government had already said it would not cooperate with the UNHRC committee formed to investigate violations committed during Israel’s summer offensive, saying the UN council would not be “objective.”
The offensive left more than 2,160 Palestinians dead and some 11,000 injured – the vast majority of them civilians – while partially or completely destroying thousands of residential structures across the Gaza Strip.
The onslaught, which was launched with the stated aim of ending rocket fire from the coastal enclave, finally ended with the announcement last August of an open-ended cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian resistance factions.