(photo credit: Reuters)
The United Nations Human Rights Council is expected to vote this Friday in Geneva on five anti-Israel resolutions, including one that encourages the boycott of West Bank settlements and Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem.
“We urge all states and regional groups to fulfill their legal obligations as third state actors by adopting guidelines to ensure that settlement produce does not enter their markets,” a Pakistan official told the UNHRC on Monday during a debate on Israel.
The Pakistani official urged the UNHRC to create a commission of inquiry into Israeli treatment of Palestinian prisoners and detainees. He added that all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails should be released.
The official spoke on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference that, with Pakistan’s help, submitted the five resolutions. The resolutions focused on what the UN says are Israeli human rights violations in east Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights.
One resolution called on member states “to take appropriate measures to encourage businesses domiciled in their territory and/or under their jurisdiction, including those owned or controlled by them, to discontinue any activities that are not in conformity with... relevant international laws and standards.”
It added that individuals and businesses should be informed of the “financial, reputational and legal risks, as well as the possible abuses of the rights of individuals, of getting involved in settlement-related activities, including economic and financial activities, the provision of services in settlements and the purchasing of property.”
Israel is the only country in this upcoming 25th session in Geneva this month against which there are five resolutions pending. The UNHRC is voting on only one resolution on Syria even though over 120,000 people have been killed in its ongoing civil war.
Similarly, there was only one resolution against the regime in Tehran that has executed over 80 people this year.
In light of the Foreign Ministry strike Israel was not represented at Monday’s UNHRC meeting that heard four reports on Israeli activity in the Palestinian territories.
The UNHRC Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Richard Falk, who is ending his six-year term, delivered his last report.
He called on the UN to ask the International Court of Justice at The Hague to issue an advisory as to whether Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian territories meets the legal standard of “colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing.”
Representatives of UN member countries spoke of Israel under Agenda Item 7, which is held at every UNHRC session.
Israel is the only country which the UNHRC is mandated to discuss at every session. It does so under this item.
Israel and the US have worked to remove the item from the agenda claiming that one in a series of UNHRC actions shows that it singles out Israel for condemnation and censure more than any other country.
In protest the United States and the European Union have recently stopped addressing the council under Agenda Item 7. When the EU spoke of Israel during this session it did so under other Agenda items.
The PLO Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ibrahim Khraishi, along with member states, spoke on Monday against the EU and in defense of Agenda Item 7 on Israel.
Khraishi attacked the concept of Israel as an “oasis of democracy.”
“We should have a clear study of the systemic and serious violations of human rights that take place in Israel. Just look at the newspapers and the TV channels and you will realize what is happening in Israel.
Major violations take place there on a daily basis,” he said referencing Israeli activity on both sides of the pre-1967 lines.
He used as an example claims of indiscriminate attacks by Jewish extremists against Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, known as “price-tag” attacks, and prejudice against Ethiopian Jewish citizens of Israel.
“Some people believe that to speak about human rights violations under Agenda Item 7 means hampering peace. Not to talk under Agenda Item 7 is a mere encouragement to Israel for it to continue with its violations and to commit more violations. It is our duty to call Israel order and all those who turn a blind eye to these violations only encourage Israel,” Khraishi said.