UN Human Rights Chief Owes Israel an Apology; Danes Owe One to ex-Shin Bet Head

It is to be hoped that Mary Robinson conducts human rights affairs with more objectivity than is revealed by her handling of a shooting incident in Hebron last year, writes Ze'ev Schiff. As for the Danes, they don't deserve Carmi Gillon.

Ze'ev Schiff
Ha'aretz Defense Columnist
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Ze'ev Schiff
Ha'aretz Defense Columnist

On November 12 last year, when the Palestinian Intifada was already in full swing, Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, came on an official visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Mary Robinson was already well-known in the past, having served as the president of the Republic of Ireland. Whether because of her position in the UN, or for other reasons, she had a reputation as being anti-Israel. But this did not interfere with her visit, because her hosts in Israel decided to afford her all due respect.

During her visit, however, something extraordinary happened. While Robinson was visiting the area of Hebron and Kiryat Arba, those accompanying her proposed that she visit the Jewish neighborhood of Tel Rumeida, in the Israeli-controlled section of Hebron. Her bodyguards were provided by the UN force in the area known as TIPH - Temporary International Presence in Hebron.

On the way, shots were fired at her convoy. One tracer bullet hit the vehicle that was accompanying Robinson. The travelling party's immediate assumption was that the shots had been fired by Israelis, apparently Jewish settlers who were trying to target the important guest.

When he greeted the UN guest on his own turf, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat offered Robinson the car in which he himself usually travels, which is armor-plated for protection against the Israelis. By remaining silent, Robinson became an accessory to the accusations levelled at Israel.

The remnants of the bullet were extracted from the UN vehicle and sent for ballistic tests. Ironically, these were performed by the ballistics department of the Danish police. The UN report on the ballistic tests was recently published, and the findings indicate that the bullet that hit the vehicle was fired from an AK-47 Kalachnikov rifle. This is a weapon with which Palestinians, including members of the security forces, are armed. Such weapons are not used by IDF soldiers or the Jewish settlers.

To the credit of the TIPH people, they did not confine themselves to ballistic tests alone. Their personnel in the area conducted a reconstruction at the site of the shooting, together with the Danish experts. The report containing the results of the reconstruction "clearly designated the origin of the shot: a house in the H1 area, north of Bal Al-Zawiya." A reminder: H1 is the area under Palestinian control in Hebron. From all this, it should have been concluded that those who fired at Ms. Robinson's convoy were Palestinians.

This concludes the affair, except that what is now missing is a statement by the honorable lady, Mary Robinson. More precisely, an apology for the blame she cast on Israel. But this has not happened. It is to be hoped that she conducts international affairs in the field of human rights with more forthrightness and objectivity. Courage and honesty are not what she has displayed in the case before us.

The truth of this whole affair was uncovered by the Danish ballistic experts at the very time that an unbelievable campaign is being conducted in that country against the person who has been designated as Israel's ambassador to Copenhagen, former Shin Bet security head Carmi Gillon.

Denmark is a country that has been blessed with everything that is good. It has no minority that is trying to change the face of the country and it has never suffered from terrorism. It even went through the Nazi period without any real damage. If we were lucky enough to be in the Danes' shoes, I would not dare advise them how to behave during a war.

What is worrying about Denmark is that the radical left in that country has succeeded in extracting anti-Semitic sentiments from the national hiding-place. Perhaps more suited to Denmark is the friendship of the radical Pol Pot, who is admired there by the left.

They are not out to get Carmi Gillon, they are out to get Israel. Carmi Gillon, who never demanded that torture be carried out even though the Danish press has said so, is too good for Denmark. As an Israeli, he is sacrificing a lot in order to prevent a situation in which Israel will end up not sending an ambassador to Denmark at all, as several Knesset members have proposed.

Presumably in Denmark, after all, there are also good and rational people and not just hypocrites who put Denmark's past to shame.



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