'Israel won't let UNHRC settlements mission enter'

Deputy FM Ayalon reiterates that Israel won't cooperate with UN probe into effects of settlements on West Bank Palestinians.

March 25, 2012 09:47
2 minute read.
OVERVIEW OF the Human Rights Council at the UNHRC

UNHRC 370. (photo credit: Reuters)


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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.

Israel 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.

Israel 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 comments 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 engagement.

“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

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