Netanyahu Livni and Lapid.
(photo credit: REUTERS,MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Leading opposition MKs joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday in intensive efforts to lobby the world’s “reasonable countries” against supporting an anti-Israel resolution that is expected to come up for a vote in the UN Human Relations Council on Thursday.
Netanyahu met with foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel, and this was among the issues they discussed. Meanwhile, MKs Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) and Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) wrote letters to the ambassadors.
The Palestinian draft resolution, based on last week’s report by the UNHRC committee that investigated last year’s war in Gaza, condemns Israel and calls for the full implementation of the report.
The UNHRC report concluded that both Israel and Hamas may have committed war crimes during Operation Protective Edge; it made no distinction between them, and placed most of the onus on Israel.
Diplomatic officials said that Jerusalem’s current diplomatic efforts were twopronged: to tamp down the language in the resolution as much as possible, and to get a “moral minority” of countries inside the UNHRC either to vote against the resolution or to abstain.
With 30% of the 47-member council consisting of either Muslim countries that are all but certain to vote against Israel, or countries like Cuba, Bolivia and Venezuela, which do not have diplomatic ties with Israel, government officials have acknowledged that winning the vote is almost impossible.
In addition to the US, there are eight EU countries on the panel – Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal and the UK. There are also a number of other friendly countries that might be convinced either to vote against or to abstain, such as Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Montenegro, Nigeria, Paraguay, South Korea and Russia.
Livni, who was justice minister at the time of Operation Protective Edge, said in her letter to the UNHRC members that the draft Palestinian resolution continued a “long line of profoundly one-sided Council resolutions regarding the conflict and Israel.”
She pointed out that since the council’s establishment nine years ago, it had passed 61 resolutions condemning Israel, Condemnations for the rest of the world combined amounted to only 55.
“I do not ask you to turn a blind eye to our region and its conflict, nor do I suggest that Israel is above scrutiny. But I do ask you to judge all equally in a fair manner according the same moral standards you take upon yourselves,” she wrote. “Justice selectively applied is no justice at all.”
She wrote that the resolution continued an “indefensible pattern of placing on the same moral and legal plane the terrorists and those defending against them. In one case, Israel is using legitimate defensive force and doing its utmost to uphold the laws of war, in the face of excruciating dilemmas.
In the other case, Hamas and other terrorist organizations are attacking civilian targets indiscriminately and demonstrating wanton disdain for the laws of war by deliberately endangering Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
Lapid, too, condemned the UNHRC’s recent report.
“It is time to draw a clear line in the sand in the campaign against Israel,” he wrote. “This report and the farcical process accompanying it are just another step in the attempts to destroy the State of Israel by diplomatic means. Those who stand behind the ongoing campaign of delegitimization are not seeking a Palestinian state alongside Israel but a Palestinian state instead of Israel, or rather on the ashes of Israel.”
He stressed that terrorism was a global threat, and that while Israel was too often on the front lines of the battle against terrorism, it should not be left alone to fight it, either militarily or in the diplomatic arena.
Lapid has said that when it comes to security issues, there is no coalition or opposition.
The letter from the head of an opposition party emphasizes to the international community that Israelis are unified against the UNHRC report.
He urged all the countries on the council that have diplomatic relations with Israel to vote against the resolution.