William Hague (R) 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)
The United Kingdom expressed concern that Knesset legislation targeting
minorities and human rights defenders reflects “a growing climate of intolerance
in Israeli society,” it said in a 2011 quarterly human rights report released
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The report is an addendum to the UK’s annual report, “Human
Rights and Democracy: The 2010 Foreign & Commonwealth Office Report,” which
in part focused on 26 countries of concern with respect to human rights,
The 2010 report was posted on the Internet, with an
addendum for the first quarter of 2011. The UK Foreign Office said that it would
publish updated quarterly reports online throughout the year.
first quarterly report on Israel in 2011, the UK critically noted Knesset
legislation on the withdrawal of funds from NGOs that participate in Nakba Day
events. It also chastised the passage on the first reading of a bill that would
impose fines on Israeli citizens who participate in, or encourage, boycotts
against Israel – including the settlements.
The 2011 first quarterly
report took issue with the detention of Palestinian children under 12, and the
Israeli demolition of Beduin homes and villages in the Negev.
Araqib Bedouin village in the Negev, which has been demolished 21 times in
total, and nine times since the beginning of the year, is of particular
concern,” the report said.
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On a positive note, the report stated that it
welcomed efforts by the Israeli government to tackle discrimination, and to
reduce inequality between Jewish and Arab citizens.
Turning to the
Palestinians, it stated it was concerned about “allegations of human rights
abuses by Palestinian security forces.”
The 12-page 2010 report attacked
Israeli actions in Gaza, east Jerusalem and the West Bank, and continued
settlement construction. It also noted concern over the failure of Palestinian
militants to renounce violence, as well as allegations of abuse in Palestinian
Additionally, it criticized Hamas’ human rights record in Gaza,
and the continued Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel’s southern
It also emphasized concern about Hamas’ failure to release
Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, who has been held captive in Gaza since June
But in speaking of the report in London on Thursday, Foreign
Secretary William Hague did not focus on Israel or the Palestinians when he
spoke of countries with poor human rights records. Instead he reserved his
global statements for countries such as Libya, Burma, Saudi Arabia and
“Our report concludes that the human rights situation in Iran is
bleaker now than at any other time in the last decade; with more executions per
capita than any other country and more jailed journalists than anywhere else in
the world,” Hague said. “We continue to work hard with other countries to
highlight and take action against human rights abuses in Iran.
uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa demonstrate the huge consequences
of suppressing people’s basic and fundamental rights, and are just the start of
a process which will no doubt lead to similar demands elsewhere in the world,”
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