News24

Israel cuts contact with UNHRC

2012-03-26 20:49

Jerusalem - The Israeli foreign ministry decided on Monday to cut contact with the United Nations Human Rights Council after it said last week it would investigate Israeli settlements, a spokesperson said.

"There was a decision by the foreign ministry to sever work contacts with the organisation," ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor told AFP, adding that Israel had yet to formally inform the council of its decision.

"There won't be working relations with them, conversations, passing papers, making visits, exchanging information, consulting one another, attending meetings," he added. "That's work, and it will not take place."

The Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip slammed the Israeli decision, with spokesperson Fawzi Barhum calling it a "Zionist attempt to blackmail" international institutions that criticise Israel.

"This is proof of the vulnerability of the Zionists in front of rights organisations and the UN, and will generate a wide international consensus on the oppression of the Palestinian people and the justice of their cause," he said in a statement.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday called publicly for a boycott of the council, which last Thursday passed a resolution ordering the first investigation into how Israeli settlements may be infringing on the rights of the Palestinians.

"This hypocritical organisation has nothing to do with human rights. Its bias and lack of objectivity are obvious and we have no reason to cooperate with it," he told Israeli public radio.

The resolution was adopted by the 47-member council by 36 votes in favour and 10 abstentions. Only the United States voted against it.

Hypocritical

The decision was condemned by Israel, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slamming the council as "hypocritical" and saying the body "should be ashamed of itself".

Israel is not a member of the Human Rights Council, but as a UN member it has the right to observe discussions and can contribute under certain conditions, though it cannot vote or present resolutions.

Israeli media have said that the government was weighing various punitive measures against the Palestinians, who it blamed for initiating the council's decision, including suspending tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.

But the Jerusalem Post said on Monday that no decision had so far been taken, and quoted a senior diplomatic official as saying that Israel would seek to mobilise support from council member states to join its boycott, though he said that would be difficult.

Israel last froze transfers in November after the Palestinians were admitted to full membership of the UN cultural agency Unesco, over objections from Israel and Washington.

It lifted the freeze after less than a month after protests from the international community.

Comments
  • Fred - 2012-03-26 21:30

    Israel has gone too far on occasion, under great duress and against the backdrop of the Holocaust. It is being held to higher standards than the Palestinians and their violent, cruel UNELECTED backers.

  • Jaba - 2012-03-26 22:31

    If you look at the countries that make up the UNHRC, you will find quite a few nations that number among the worst human rights abusers in the world. Israel should absolutely refuse to allow these miscreants entry into Israel. What Israel could do, just as one example, is ask China (an HRC member) to give Israel access to Tibet. You know, to check out the human rights situation there. Do you see that going anywhere? I don't. The UNHRC can all go to hell, where they richly deserve to be.

      Jaba - 2012-03-26 23:28

      lambasted Assad O please... maybe for the Camera! the butcher of Damascus is still on his killing spree (9000 and counting) and the world is silent. But OMG WTF Israel built a House on disputed land (that's right - its not occupied its disputed land) and here come the inquires condemnations and so forth. Yes Mueds its 100% double standards. Look at the so called members of this "human rights council" as presently constituted, is a farce. According to the UNHRC's Charter ALL 47 member states must have impeccable human rights records. But within the council one can find nations that chop off the arms of thieves in town squares and forbid women from driving. There are member states that massacre their own people, scoff at freedom of the press and whose justice system is an extension of the ruling regime.

      Fred - 2012-03-27 00:58

      I don't remember doing that. But Muedes, you like to make things up as you go along, whether or not they're real.

  • Jaba - 2012-03-26 23:46

    as apartheid is to a Black South African, 9/11 to a New Yorker, the Holocaust to Jews, the Tsunami is to Japan, the Earthquake is to Haiti, the black plague is to Europe - so to, is the UNHRC is to Israel. * Since it was created in 2006, the council has issued 40 condemnations of countries—with 33 of them targeting democratic Israel. As a result, the world’s true abusers of human rights, including the most serious perpetrators, continue to go ignored. * Out of the council’s nine emergency sessions that criticized countries, six have been against Israel. Recent and well-publicized killings of innocents—in Iran, China, Nigeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Zimbabwe—have gone completely ignored. * The council’s agenda, which governs every session, features a permanent item targeting Israel. No other country in the world is singled out in this fashion. The council’s anti-Israel resolutions, the one-sided Reports, the hateful statements by EAFORD—all of these appear under the rubric of this biased agenda item, which has come to symbolize the council’s systematic discrimination against Israel. Israel should have left this racist council years ago!

      Bones - 2012-03-27 08:13

      The only racist and dividing part of this equation is Israel. The situation on the ground speaks for itself.

  • Rashida Patel - 2012-03-27 06:34

    Its really sad .israel that endured and survived the atrocities of holocaust ,have now become the oppressors to the palestians who now the voiceless and oppressed. Israel ont a member of UNCHR,says it all. It has no regard for human rights

      Fred - 2012-03-27 07:13

      Doesn't make sense, does it. You have to look deeper, not on the surface only. Deeper you will see the Palestinuans are being abused by the UNELECTED dictators of the Middle East who are funneling billions of dollars of arms to them and inviting them to attack Israel almost daily, instead of giving them the few neighborhoods they need from the vast land they control. Why would they do this if they truly cared about the Palestinians?

      Bones - 2012-03-27 08:15

      @ Fred: What "vast" lands are you talking about? The Israelis have taken a lot of land and divided what was supposed to be Palestine, and are enforcing apartheid like the Nats could never dream of.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-03-27 10:36

    It never ceases to amaze me how supposedly rational educated people, will defend Israel no matter what. It would appear that the Western world feels it is above being questioned or investigated. Not only do we live with the blatant lies about the holocaust but we are expected to give leeway to Israel at every turn, Time for these people to sink or swim on their own merits.

  • allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-03-27 11:21

    In 2006, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan argued that the Commission should not have a "disproportionate focus on violations by Israel. Not that Israel should be given a free pass. Absolutely not. But the Council should give the same attention to grave violations committed by other states as well." On 20 June 2007, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement that read: "The Secretary-General is disappointed at the council's decision to single out only one specific regional item given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world." March 2011 controversyAt the UNHRC's opening session in February 2011, Hillary Clinton criticized the council's "structural bias" against the State of Israel: "The structural bias against Israel – including a standing agenda item for Israel, whereas all other countries are treated under a common item – is wrong. And it undermines the important work we are trying to do together." An editorial in the Jerusalem Post subsequently revealed that the UNHRC was "poised to adopt six resolutions...condemning Israel," noting that it was the highest number of resolutions ever to be adopted against Israel in a single session. Human rights activist and Hudson Institute senior fellow Anne Bayefsky accused the UNHRC of failing to remove antisemitic propaganda distributed by the IHH during one of its sessions. The material in question was an illustration depicting Israel as a sinister Nazi octopus seizing control of a ship.

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