The United Nations is expected to formally invite Israel to join its group of
Western nations in Geneva on Monday, a move that is critical for Israel’s
continued involvement in the United Nations Human Rights Council.
is part of the Western European and Others Group at the UN’s headquarters in New
York. But until Friday, that group’s counterpart (also called WEOG) in the
United Nations Office at Geneva had refused to allow Israel to be a
Arab nations have barred Israel’s participation in the UN’s Asian
group into which Israel geographically falls, thereby moving it over into WEOG
as the only other available option.
The issue of Israeli membership in
WEOG in Geneva and in New York is more than a formality, because elections to UN
bodies occur through a nation’s participation in regional groupings.
have finally been admitted as a member of a geographic group [in Geneva], which
means that our relations with the UN bodies in Geneva will be more or less
normalized, and the exclusion and marginalization from which Israel suffered
will start to be removed,” an Israeli official said.
Israel is not
expected to issue a formal response until it receives the WEOG invitation on
Israel had made its acceptance to WEOG in Geneva a precondition
to resuming its ties with the UN Human Rights Council.
Israeli officials, Israel’s lack of membership in any UN regional group in
Geneva meant that it did not have the same rights granted to other UN member
Specifically in Geneva, the result was that Israel could never be
elected to the UNHRC.
Israel cut its ties with the UNHRC in March 2012,
to protest its decision to create a fact-finding mission to investigate Israel’s
Officials in Jerusalem argued that the mission was
part of a long-standing UNHRC bias against it, evidenced in the disproportionate
number of censures leveled against Israel and in the special sessions held on
its activities in the West Bank and Gaza.
In October, Israel agreed to
reengage with the council by participating in its Universal Periodic Review
Process, on the understanding that WEOG membership would follow.
Israeli official said the UN should have long ago addressed Israel’s inability
to fully participate in its Geneva-based institutions.
“We do wonder, why
did it take some door slamming before they finally understood that that our
situation was intolerable?” the official said.