(photo credit: Reuters)
Israel will not permit entry into the country members of the UN Human
Rights Council's fact-finding mission to probe the effects of
settlements on Palestinian human rights, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny
Ayalon told Israel Radio Sunday morning.
Ayalon's comments came following the decision made on Thursday by the UNHRC to set up the mission.
will consider whether it is worthwhile continuing its membership at
the UNHRC, Ayalon said, adding that the council is being used for
political bashing against Israel and is allowing Palestinians to
prepare what he called "Goldstone Two." He reiterated previous
statements made by government officials that Israel would not cooperate
with the mission.
The deputy foreign minister added that Israel
must send a clear message to the Palestinians that they cannot try to
harm Israel and simultaneously benefit from gestures that the the Jewish
state makes for them. "We have many resources but we will act with
discretion and will not shoot from the hip," he affirmed.
Israel is considering punitive measures against the Palestinian
Authority over the
decision to establish the mission, Israel Radio reported earlier Sunday. Part
of these measures may include delaying the transfer of tax revenues to
the PA, or freezing joint economic ventures between Jerusalem and the
PA, a diplomatic source told Israel Radio.
Eight senior cabinet ministers will convene Sunday to discuss possible sanctions on the PA.
froze tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority last year, following
UNESCO's decision to admit the PA as a member state
in October. While Jerusalem released the funds in November, the
government warned it would freeze them again were the PA to continue to
pursue statehood unilaterally at the UN.
On Friday, Foreign
Minister Avigdor Liberman accused PA President Mahmoud Abbas of engaging
in “diplomatic terror” against Israel. Liberman’s
came during a meeting with Singapore President Tony
Tan in the southeast Asian country.
Calling the council a “theater of the absurd of hypocrisy and dual
standards,” Liberman said he would convene a meeting of senior officials in the
Foreign Ministry to determine whether Israel should cut off all ties with the
council, and to consider lobbying other countries – first and foremost the US –
to get them to leave the body.
That, however, is not going to be an easy
chore, especially judging from a statement the US State Department issued on
Friday about the council’s activity last week.
While the statement said
the US “reaffirmed its strong opposition to a series of anti- Israel measures
that continue unnecessarily to politicize the council’s human rights agenda,” it
added that the council’s 19th Regular Session helped “spur action on a series of
important human rights situations around the world, in part due to vigorous US
“Our persistence in combating the council’s enduring
anti-Israel bias, coupled with our successful efforts to confront human rights
violations around the world, underscores the importance of United States
leadership and engagement at the Human Rights Council and across the UN system,”
the American statement said.Herb Keinon contributed to this report