Israel called Tuesday for the shelving of a UN "war crimes" inquiry into its war last summer against Hamas terrorists in Gaza, after the probe's head William Schabas quit over accusations of blatant bias and conflict of interest.
The UN said Schabas resigned Monday after it came out that he had worked as a consultant for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorist group in October 2012, reports AFP.
Schabas denied that he was beholden to the PLO but said he was stepping down to avoid the inquiry into the July-August conflict - commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council – being rejected due to bias.
Council president Joachim Ruecker accepted the resignation, with spokesman Rolando Gomez saying that "in this way even an appearance of conflict of interest is avoided, thus preserving the integrity of the process."
But Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu argued there was no such "integrity," and that Schabas's departure necessitated that the whole investigation be abandoned.
"After the resignation of the committee chairman who was biased against Israel, the report that was written at the behest of the UN Human Rights Council – an anti-Israel body, the decisions of which prove it has nothing to do with human rights – needs to be shelved," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu reminded "this is the same council that in 2014 made more decisions against Israel than against Iran, Syria and North Korea combined."
"It won't change the committee's report's conclusions, which were biased in advance in accordance with the body that formed the committee, whose sole purpose is attacking and harming Israel," he said.
PLO accuses Israel of "defaming"
In response to the calls to abandon the "war crimes" probe, the PLO tried to play down the issue of Schabas's conflict of interests.
"This (resignation) is a minor issue. Israel makes a habit of using whatever means they can to attack, defame, discredit and intimidate," senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi told AFP.
She claimed "it's a tactic to avoid accountability and treat Israel as a country that is above the law."
The UNHRC has a long history of attacking Israel. Back in January 2012, Israel became the first country to refuse to attend a periodic review of its human rights record due to the biased treatment it was afforded.
Two months later, it cut all ties with the council over its plans to probe how a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, the Biblical heartland of Israel, were "harming Palestinian rights."
Last November, it announced that it would not cooperate with Schabas's investigation because of the "obsessive hostility against Israel of this commission and the words of its president against Israel and its leaders."
The show goes on
Gomez said the commission, which is scheduled to present its findings next month, was in "the final phase of collecting evidence" and could name a new chairman as early as Tuesday.
He said the council president had stressed "the need to remain focused on the substantive work of the commission in the interest of the victims and their families on both sides."
The Gaza conflict ended with a truce between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization governing Gaza on August 26.
Despite the fact that Hamas embedded its terrorist infrastructure in the civilian population, a detailed study after the war proved 49% of the casualties in Gaza were terrorists, meaning the IDF achieved a 1:1 civilian to combatant ratio almost unprecedented in urban warfare.
Hamas welcomed the UN inquiry, which claimed that it would conduct a "thorough investigation" of both Israel and Hamas. Every one of the thousands of rockets Hamas fired from civilian centers at civilian centers falls in the definition of a war crime, but the UN probe was posed to focus its condemnation on Israel for the casualties caused by strikes on embedded terror targets.