Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday slammed the United Nations Human Rights Council for “absurdly” condemning Israel in five resolutions last week while censuring Syria and Iran only once.
“This march of hypocrisy is continuing and we will continue to condemn it and expose it,” he told his cabinet at the start of its weekly meeting in Jerusalem.
“The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC ) condemned Israel five times, this at a time when the slaughter in Syria is continuing, innocent people are being hanged in the Middle East and human rights are being eroded,” he said.
“In many countries free media are being shut down and the UN Human Rights Council decides to condemn Israel for closing off a balcony. This is absurd,” said Netanyahu.
On Friday, the UNHRC ended its 25th session by voting almost unanimously, 46-1 in favor, on four resolutions condemning Israeli treatment of Palestinians. It also condemned Israeli human rights abuses against Syrian citizens of Israel who live in the Golan Heights, voting 33 to 1, with 13 abstentions.
Out of the 42 resolutions adopted by the council on a wide range of human issues only 10 censured the actions of a specific country, out of which five of the condemnations were leveled against Israel.
A resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (Burma) was approved by consensus.
But none of the condemnations of other countries, including those of Iran and Syria, on the issue of human rights received the same level of support from member states as the charges against Israel.
The 47-member council voted 21-to-9, with 16 abstentions on the situation of human rights in Iran.
It voted 23-to-12, with 12 abstentions on “reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka,” as well as voting 30-to-6 ,with 11 abstentions on the situation of human rights in North Korea.
It voted 32-to-4, with 11 abstentions on the grave deterioration of human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria. The resolution strongly condemned the use of chemical weapons. It also condemned the “bombardment of civilian areas, in particular the indiscriminate use of barrel bombs, ballistic missiles and cluster bombs and other actions which may amount to war crimes against humanity.”
An Israeli official said the fact Israeli actions on the Golan Heights garnered slightly more support, with 33 countries approving it, was “almost a bad joke.”
It was particularly upsetting, the Israeli official said, that the UNHRC approved such a resolution a time when hospitals in the north of Israel are treating scores of Syrian victims from the civil war.
The Israeli official also took issue with the strong united stance against Israel by nine member states of the European Union including: Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Austria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Ireland.
All nine EU countries supported the four resolutions that condemned Israeli treatment of Palestinians, supporting the Goldstone Report on Israeli actions in Gaza and encouraged a boycott of West Bank settlements and Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.
They abstained but did not reject the resolution condemning Israeli violations of human rights against Syrian citizens on the Golan Heights.
“It’s a pity that some Western democracies choose to jump on the automatic anti-Israel bandwagon at the UNHRC ,” an Israeli official said.
“It is a pity they did not use that moment to demonstrate moral leadership, instead of that they became part of the travesty. They became partners in a cynical one-sided farce,” the official said.
But the official lauded the United States, which was the sole country to stand with Israel and reject all five resolutions.
“They showed moral leadership,” the official said.
The Palestinians, however, welcomed the almost unanimous support at the UNHRC and said such resolutions showed Israel that it could not “flout” international law.
“This vote confirms the world’s clear condemnation of the systematic human rights violations committed by Israel, the occupying power, against the Palestinian people and their fundamental rights,” said Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki.
The Foreign Ministry was not present at the UNHRC ’s meetings this week due to its ongoing strike against the government over equitable wages.