UNHRC headquarters 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The United States on Monday urged the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to stop
its biased treatment of Israel.
It took particular issue with the
council’s Agenda Item 7, under which at every session Israel’s human rights
record in areas over the pre-1967 line is debated. Israel is the only country to
have a dedicated agenda item.
“The United States continues to be deeply
troubled by this council’s biased and disproportionate focus on Israel, as
exemplified by this standing agenda item,” the US Ambassador to the UNHRC Eileen
Chamberlain Donahoe said.
She spoke during a day-long debate on five
UNHRC resolutions on Israel and the Palestinians in Geneva, including one that
dealt with Israel’s treatment of Syrians in the Golan Heights. One resolution
dealt with Palestinian self-determination. Another called on the UNHRC to
create a fact-finding mission on West Bank settlements. Two others condemned
Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
“The hypocrisy of this item is
further amplified by the resolutions brought under it, including a resolution on
the human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, motivated by the Syrian regime at
a time when it is murdering its own citizens,” Donahoe said.
that her country believed the Palestinians should have a sovereign and
contiguous state. It also supported the efforts of the humanitarian agencies on
behalf of the Palestinian people.
“The effectiveness and legitimacy of
this council can never be complete as long as one country is unfairly and
uniquely singled out for its own agenda item,” she said.
“implores” the council to “eliminate these biased resolutions and the permanent
agenda item,” Donahoe said as she urged a balanced approach to human
In her speech to the council, UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights Navi Pillay said that Israel’s “occupation” of the Palestinians had led
to “large-scale violations of international law.” At the same time, however, she said that Palestinian rocket fire against
Israeli citizens was illegal and unjustifiable.
Pillay also urged
Palestinian leaders to enforce the rights of free speech and
PLO Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ibrahim Khraishi spoke
harshly against Israel and West Bank settlers. He called Israel’s military
attack in Gaza against Palestinian rocket fire “unjustified.” In the West Bank,
“there were savage attacks by herds of settlers,” he said.
along with other countries including Qatar and Saudi Arabia, accused Israel of
the Judaization of Jerusalem.
Iran’s representative accused Israel of
deflecting attention away from Palestinians by focusing on Tehran’s nuclear
Aharon Leshno-Yaar, Israel’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva,
reminded the council that his country was the only democracy in the Middle
He called on the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table to
reach a two-state solution to solve the conflict between them.
time for the Human Rights Council to get back to the real work it is here to
do. Work for the people of Syria and Iran and in other places where
people’s lives actually depend on the international community taking action,”
The council is set to vote on the resolutions at the
end of the week.