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UN Gaza inquiry head says will resign over Israel 'malicious attacks'

Canadian academic William Schabas

The head of a UN inquiry into Israel’s summer war on the Gaza Strip says he will step down due to what he calls “malicious attacks” by the Tel Aviv regime.

In August 2014, the head of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed William Schabas, a Canadian academic, to lead a group examining suspected war crimes during the Israeli regime's military offensive in Gaza.

Israel has accused him of being biased towards the Palestinians due to a legal opinion he wrote for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 2012. However, Schabas insists that consultancy work he did for the PLO was not different from advice he had given to many other governments and organizations.

He said in a Monday letter to the UNHRC that he would resign so that the Israeli allegations of bias could not overshadow the preparation of the report and its findings, slated to be released in March.

“My views on Israel and Palestine as well as on many other issues were well known and very public,” he wrote in the letter, adding, “This work in defense of human rights appears to have made me a huge target for malicious attacks.”

Schabas' appointment had angered Israel from the beginning as it he has been a strong critic of the regime and its political leadership.

About 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children, were killed in the Israeli onslaught, which started in early July 2014 and ended in late August. Over 11,100 others, including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people, were also injured.

Some 100,000 people are still homeless in the besieged coastal sliver, with thousands of homes being in need of repair after the Israeli war.


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