The McGowan Davis/Schabas Inquiry: The UN Legal Pogrom

The UN response to Hamas

The UN as an accomplice to the use of Palestinians as human shields

August 21, 2014, press conference of Pernille Ironside, Chief of the UNICEF Gaza Field Office

Editor's Note: Ironside, a senior UN official, admits that Israel sought the UN's help in clearing neighborhoods of Palestinian civilians in advance of Israeli operations, and the UN refused. Those operations were directed at military targets that were embedded in those civilian neighborhoods. Embedding military/terrorist activities in civilian neighborhoods - that is, using civilians as human shields - was a war crime. So instead of attempting to prevent those Palestinian war crimes, the UN directly contributed to the death of Palestinian civilians during the Gaza war.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights


Throughout the war, the UN issued swift and repeated condemnations of Israel immediately following events, despite the fact that it had no knowledge of the military calculations - "military advantage anticipated" in the words of the Geneva Conventions - necessary to determine satisfaction of the legal test of proportionality.

  • The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at the time, Navi Pillay, played a central role in condemning Israel, creating the Council inquiry, and selecting individuals with obvious biases against Israel to serve as inquiry members:
    1. July 11, 2014, Press Release on Gaza
    2. July 23, 2014, Statement delivered to the Special Session of the Human Rights Council convened on Gaza
    3. July 31, 2014, Press Release on Gaza
    4. August 6, 2014, Statement at the Informal Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the situation in Gaza

  • Even a month after the war ended, her successor, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, authored a report on September 19, 2014 in which he refused to say that Palestinians had been used as human shields:
      "OHCHR preliminary monitoring and external reports related to the conduct of Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas, during hostilities also gave rise to human rights concerns and to concerns under international humanitarian law. Issues include ... the use of human shields. OHCHR continues to work to verify these reports and allegations."

    UN Secretary General's Board of Inquiry makes recommendations to Israel, none to Hamas


    The Board of Inquiry concluded its report (April 27, 2015) by making a series of recommendations. They related to "Safety and Security," "Communication and Coordination," and "General Issues." Four of the recommendations began: "The United Nations should request the Government of Israel to..." In fact, the only non-UN entity which was the subject of Board recommendations was Israel. The Board failed to make a single recommendation directed to Hamas or Palestinian authorities.

    Astonishingly, despite concluding that on multiple occasions, "Palestinian armed group(s)" stored or fired weapons from UNRWA schools, the Board made no recommendations that Hamas or other Palestinian entities stop using UNRWA schools to commit war crimes.

    To repeat: the UN Secretary-General's Board of Inquiry members made no demand, or recommendation or even suggestion, that Palestinian armed groups stop using Palestinian civilians as human shields.