Members of the United Nations Security Council observe a moment of silence for those killed in the Gaza Strip on Monday, before the start of a UN Security Council meeting concerning the violence at the border of Israel and the Gaza Strip, at United Nations headquarters, May 15.
(photo credit: DREW ANGERER / AFP)
In an unusual move, Bolivia invited the left-wing Israeli NGO B’Tselem to address the United Nations Security Council on Thursday when it holds its monthly meeting on the Middle East.
Israel Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon lashed out at B’Tselem for accepting such an invitation, particularly one issued by a country like Bolivia, which has called IDF soldiers “murderers.”
“This is not only a shame and a disgrace for the organization, but it also crosses redlines for those foreign countries with an anti-Israel agenda that finance and then invite [B’Tselem] to give testimony again us,” Danon said.
He aimed some of his comments against B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad, who will represent the organization at the United Nations.
“We will expose not only Palestinian incitement and lies, but also those of Hagai El-Ad and B’Tselem. We will continue to defend Israel and the truth,” Danon said.B’Tselem
said in response that it would “continue to document and publish the reality of the occupation which the government tries to hide, including this week, in which Israel intends on committing the war crime of demolishing Khan al-Ahmar and forcibly transferring its residents.”
The NGO added, “Robbing millions of people of their political rights and holding them under military rule for generations is not a domestic issue, but one of international consequences and concerns.”
Thursday will mark the first time that B’Tselem will address a formal meeting of the UNSC. It did speak before an informal UNSC session in 2016, known as an Arria-formula meeting. At the time, it focused its comments on West Bank settlements.
A large portion of the public comments during the monthly meetings focuses on Israel, rather than other regional issues.
UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov often briefs member states on events that occurred in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict since the last council meeting.
The 15 member states can also speak and in some cases, Danon and the Palestinian Authority Ambassador Riyad Mansour are also invited to speak.
Bolivia issued the invitation because it holds the rotating UNSC presidency this month.Yvette J. Dean contributed to this report.
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