Tel Aviv University (TAU) plans to hire a senior Israeli army officer to lecture on international law despite an outcry from opponents of Israel’s recent Gaza incursion.

Col. Pnina Sharvit-Baruch, head of the international law division at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Military Advocate General’s Office, has drawn the ire of doves for authorizing the bombing of a Gaza police barracks.

Professor Chaim Gans, a lecturer at Tel Aviv University and a member of the German government-funded Minerva human rights organization, together with the New York-based Ford Foundation and the Washington-based New Israel Fund, wrote a letter attacking Col Sharvit-Baruch’s credentials.

“At issue is ‘trick litigation,’ which legalizes the rather massive killing of innocent people and damages the internal values that are worthy of legal academia,” Mr. Gans wrote in a letter to Professor Hanoch Dagan, the university’s dean of law. “More importantly, it damages the values worthy of Israel.”

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Mr. Dagan said that Col. Sharvit-Baruch would nonetheless teach a course in international law at the university during this year’s second semester as planned.

“We have a clear policy of not capitulating to pressure from one side or another,” a university spokesman said. “Pluralism is the university’s sustenance, part of the justification for its existence and one of its most important social roles.”

Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak sent a letter to the university last week defending Col. Sharvit-Baruch’s credentials.

“Sharvit-Baruch is a very talented officer who does her job faithfully to the best of her abilities, while perpetually examining IDF activity and issuing restrictions and prohibitions as well as giving authorization for actions, in keeping with the rules of what is permissible and what is not in international law,” Mr. Barak wrote. “Her integration in the process attests a thousand times to the morality of the IDF, which, as opposed to Hamas, did not deliberately target a completely blameless population.”

The veteran Israeli journalist Dan Magolit denounced efforts to bar Col. Sharvit-Baruch from teaching at Tel-Aviv University as a “disgraceful McCarthyist campaign.”

“The pro-Palestinian leftists demanded that her promotion be stopped, and they were repelled,” Mr. Magolit said. “This hostile course of action was not personally directed against Pnina. She is merely a tool in a sophisticated plot being hatched by the pro-Palestinians to bind Tel Aviv University to a mendacious position that charges that the IDF committed war crimes in its defense of the resident of southern Israel.”

Israel Fights Spanish Litigation

The Israel State Attorney’s Office hasn’t waited for Spanish legal proceedings pertaining to the suit that filed against former high-ranking Israeli security establishment officials. The suit was filed in Spain in accord with the Spanish courts’ claim to universal jurisdiction in the aftermath of the killing of Hamas member Salah Shehade. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) bombed him, together with his family. The Spanish government wants to bring charges against these Israeli government officials, alleging that the killing of the terrorist and his family constituted a human rights violation.

The Israel State Attorney’s Office urgently sent to the Spanish authorities large quantities of documents and information that explain in detail all of the processes that had been taken in Israel regarding Mr. Shehade.

The Israel State Attorney’s Office informed the Spanish authorities the Israeli High Court of Justice recently rejected a petition filed by a left-wing Israeli organization seeking a court order enjoining a criminal investigation of the targeted killing operation against Mr. Shehade.

The Israel High Court of Justice ruled that the petitioners failed to prove that there had been any flaw in the attorney general and judge advocate general’s decision not to launch a criminal investigation into the affair.

It also ruled the establishment of the investigative committee, its composition and its activity were all under the purview of the executive authority.

“We hope that the documents that we’ve submitted will lead the Spanish court to change its decision,” said one senior Justice Ministry source.

In tandem, Israel will demand that European Union countries to cease and desist from their initiative to prosecute Israeli officers for Israel’s military policies.

The Israel Foreign Ministry issued a statement yesterday that Israel had already received assurances from Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos, who is currently visiting Israel, that Spain could drop the case.

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said Mr. Moratinos had promised that his government would take action to change legislation and to restrict the court’s authority, but noted that the legal system in his country was free, refusing to elaborate further.

“Anyone who calls the killing of a terrorist such as Salah Shehade a ‘crime against humanity,’ lives in an upside-down world,” Mr. Barak said.

The initiative to get foreign governments to prosecute Israel emanated from the initiative of a number of left-wing organizations that also operate with funding from the Washington-based New Israel Fund.

David Bedein can be reached at


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.