An official in Jerusalem said Friday that the UN Human Right Council's decision to appoint a team of international experts to investigate the commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May "is an expression of the Council's puzzling obsession with Israel."
"The decision is pointless in light of Israel's thorough examination of the raid," he said, referring to the Eiland and Turkel committees.
Knesset Member Otniel Schneller (Kadima) said that instead of focusing on the flotilla raid, the international community should investigate the continued captivity of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in Gaza, which he says constitutes a violation of international law.
"I would expect the Rights Council to fulfill its duty and focus on human rights," he said. "The UN should examine what kind of contribution its committees have made to the advancement of peace in the Middle East."
The UN's fact-finding team comprises three independent experts -- Sir Desmond de Silva (Britain), Karl Hudson-Phillips (Trinidad and Tobago) and Mary Shanthi Dairiam (Malaysia).
The UN team is expected to travel to Israel, Turkey and Gaza in August to interview witnesses and gather information before reporting back to the Council in September. The Council opens a three-week session in Geneva on Sept. 12.
Since its establishment in 2006, the Human Rights Council has held five urgent sessions regarding Israel. On June 30, 2006 it voted to make a review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel a permanent feature of every council session.
The Bush Administration said the body had lost its credibility with repeated attacks on Israel and a failure to confront other rights abusers. In March 2007, then State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said the council has had a “singular focus” on Israel, while countries such as Cuba, Myanmar and North Korea have been spared scrutiny.