William Schabas, head of the United Nations inquiry into the 2014 conflict between Hamas and Israel, announced that he is stepping down.
Notorious for his anti-Israel sentiments, Schabas cited Israeli allegations of bias as the reason behind his resignation, Reuters reported. In 2012, Schabas was paid $1,300 for legal work on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
While he maintains that his legal services were no different than that given to other organizations, Schabas says he is a victim of “malicious attacks” by Israel.
In a letter to the UN commission, Schabas stated he did not want the charges to cast any doubt over the Gaza investigation and is therefore in a position where he is being forced to resign.
“My views on Israel and Palestine as well as on many other issues were well known ad very public,” he wrote. “This work in defence of human rights appears to have made me a huge target for malicious attacks.”
“I believe that it is difficult for the work to continue while a procedure is underway to consider whether the chair of the commission should be removed,” Schabas added.
Commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry of the 2014 Gaza Conflict is expected to release its findings in March. While most of the investigation is completed, Schabas wrote that the writing phase is currently underway.
Israel said it would not cooperate with the UN probe, deriding the commission as a “kangaroo court.”
In response to the resignation of Schabas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the UNHRC to shelve its report on last summer’s war.
“After the resignation of the committee chairman, who was biased against Israel, the report must not be published,” Netanyahu said in a statement on Tuesday.
The prime minister said the report was “initiated by the UNHRC, an anti-Israel body that has proven, in its decisions, that it has nothing to do with human rights.” He added that in 2014, the council had passed “more resolutions against Israeli than Iran, Syria, and North Korea combined.”
“Hamas, other terrorist organization and the terror regimes around us are the ones who need to be investigated, and not Israel,” Netanyahu stated.