UN Human Rights High Commissioner Admits To Wiesenthal Center Delegation… “Hezbollah Deliberately Targeted Israeli Civilians"

September 19, 2006                     


A Simon Wiesenthal Center delegation to the UN Human Rights Council charged Hezbollah with war crimes and crimes against humanity by targeting Israeli population centers and civilian infrastructure including hospitals, schools and houses of worship during this summer’s 34-day war.

During a 45 minute meeting with Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, delegation member Shlomo Bohbot, the Mayor of the Jewish and Arab twin City of Maalot-Tarshiha, which lies 6 miles from the Lebanese border spoke of the devastation wrought by the over 680 Katyusha rockets that struck his municipality. Bohbot emphasized that there are no military installations anywhere in his region.

Western Galilee Hospital representative, Dr. Norman Loberant presented graphic images of the impact of the constant targeting of Nahariya and the specific damage done to the hospital during the war. Included were X-rays that depicted the catastrophic injuries caused by multiple ball bearings from Katyusha warheads that maimed and murdered both Jewish and Arab citizens of the Northern Galilee.

Clearly shocked by the photographic evidence, High Commissioner Arbour declared that “the deliberate Hezbollah attacks on primarily civilians targets were deliberate” and thus “violated international humanitarian law”.

Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Center’s Director for International Relations declared, “Our delegation’s mission was to address Hezbollah’s human rights violations and to demand that the newly constituted Human Rights Council live up to its mandate in also acknowledging and addressing the suffering of Israel’s civilian population during the recent conflict."

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center said, “Hezbollah is clearly guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and the UN Human Rights Council’s failure to take action will cripple its tenuous credibility on other critical humanitarian crises, if they fail to protect the Human Rights of Israeli citizens."

Dramatic Testimony From Beirut

Earlier the delegation participated in a conference at UN Headquarters entitled: “Hezbollah vs. Human Rights: Redressing the Balance."

Kamel el Batel, Director of Human Rights of the World Council of the Cedars Revolution delivered dramatic testimony accusing Hezbollah of being a “Khomeinist (Iran) army that is “holding Lebanon hostage” by controlling the media, government schools and youth movements. When challenged by the UN Representative of the Arab Lawyers Union who claimed that Hezbollah was a legitimate resistance movement and that Israel was the obstacle to peace, Mr. El Betel showed slides of Hezbollah antisemitic educational materials designed for 5-year-old scouts, and asked: “How can you speak of peace when Hezbollah teaches children to hate Jews?”

The Wiesenthal Center delegation, which included Leo Adler, Director of National Affairs for Canadian Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, also met with various UN Ambassadors, including Canada’s delegate Paul Meyer, who encouraged the Wiesenthal Center to press for greater balance at the world body. The Center will closely monitor developments in Geneva and on the report of the UN Commission of Inquiry into violations of human rights during the Hezbollah war.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS and the Council of Europe.

For more information contact Dr. Samuels at 33609 770 158 Or Rabbi Cooper at 310-210-9750