United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In a clear moral victory for Israel, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Australia are expected to oppose all five anti-Israel resolutions that the United Nations Human Rights Council is expected to approve on Friday as it ends its 40th session in Geneva.
Austria is expected to oppose the most egregious of the five, the “accountability” resolution, which calls for an ams embargo against Israel.
Denmark and the UK have never taken such a stand before. All five resolutions are expected to pass, but the three votes against Agenda Item 7 resolutions is the clearest signal Israel has received to date that it has made inroads in its push to abolish the item.
A UNHRC mandate insists that a debate on alleged Israeli human rights abuses must be held at every council session under Agenda Item 7. No such mandate has been leveled against any other country.
Israel is also the only country in this session to have five resolutions leveled against it. The UNHRC also issued seven reports against Israel, again more than any other country.
UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt announced his country’s decision to stand with Israel in a special opinion piece he authored for the British Jewish newspaper The Jewish Chronicle.
“Two years ago, the United Kingdom said that unless the situation changed, we would vote against all texts proposed under Item 7,” Hunt wrote.
“Sadly, our concerns have not been heeded. So I have decided that we will do exactly what we said: Britain will now oppose every Item 7 resolution,” he wrote.
He warned Israel that his country’s opposition to the resolutions should not be interpreted as a sign of support for its actions in the West Bank.
“On the contrary, the British Government has frequently expressed our views about the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, particularly the bloodshed in Gaza and the illegal expansion of settlements,” Hunt wrote. “One of my first acts as Foreign Secretary was to write to the Israeli Government to condemn the impending demolition of the Palestinian village of Khan Al-Ahmar, which has since been deferred, though we will press Israel to abandon its plans entirely,” he wrote. The issue here, he clarified, was the biased nature of Agenda Item 7. “A fair-minded observer would find it curious that, of all the situations in the world, only Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories are permanently on the agenda of the UNHRC,” he wrote. The Danish foreign minister also tweeted that his government planned to follow suit. Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen tweeted: “It is fundamentally wrong that Israel is the only country in the world that has an entire agenda item dedicated to it in the UN Human Rights Council. Tomorrow, therefore – out of principle – Denmark will vote NO to all resolutions under #HRC Item 7,” he wrote.
On Thursday Austrian Chancellor told the American Jewish Committee that his country held that the accountability resolution was “politically biased against Israel.”
Aside from the arms embargo the “accountability” resolution also approves the UNHRC creation of a secret dossier on Israelis it believes have committed war crimes, with an eye to bringing those Israelis before international courts of law.
This dossier has already created by the UNHRC’s Commission of Inquiry, which authored a 252-page report on the Gaza border violence last year under the “Great March of Return.”
The report, along with the secret dossier, has been handed to UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Michelle Bachelet with instructions to transfer the information to the International Criminal Court at the Hague.
Another one of the five resolutions calls on Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights. The vote comes just as the United States announced that it recognizes Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights from Syria.
The Golan Heights resolution, which is approved every year in multiple UN forums, is likely to be interrupted as push back against the Trump administration’s decision.
Last year, the United States and Australia were the only two countries to oppose all five anti-Israel resolutions at the UNHRC’s March session. The US, however, has since left the council.
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