UN Human Rights Council to hold third session on Israel

Council has drawn fire from US for spending a great deal of time criticizing Israel; US not a member of the body.

beit hanun funeral 298.8 (photo credit: AP)
beit hanun funeral 298.8
(photo credit: AP)
The new UN Human Rights Council said it will hold a third special session Wednesday on Israel, focusing on alleged rights abuses in Gaza. The council, created earlier this year to replace the highly politicized and much-maligned UN Human Rights Commission, has drawn fire from the United States for spending a great deal of time criticizing Israel. The US is not a member of the body. This week's meeting in Geneva was requested by Bahrain and Pakistan on behalf of Arab and Muslim groups "to consider and take action on the gross human rights violations emanating from Israeli military incursions" in Gaza, the council said in a statement on Monday. Israeli artillery killed 19 civilians Wednesday in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun amid an offensive meant to halt rocket attacks on Israel. The United States vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution Saturday that sought to condemn Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip and demand Israeli troops pull out of the territory. US Ambassador John Bolton said the Arab-backed draft resolution was "biased against Israel and politically motivated." The UN top rights watchdog, which took over from the former Human Rights Commission in June, held two special sessions this summer to discuss an earlier Israeli offensive in Gaza and the Israel-Hizbullah war in Lebanon. US officials say the council has made a slow and discouraging start and says it serves as a forum for political games.