Israel’s vote at the United Nations General Assembly on April 7 in favor of removing Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was a “thinly veiled” attempt to divert international intention away from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday afternoon.
“We noted another anti-Russian attack made on April 7 by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in the context of his country’s support for the UN General Assembly resolution to suspend the Russian Federation’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council. We have already given our assessments of this unlawful and politically-motivated resolution,” the statement began.
“The statements of the head of the Israeli Foreign Ministry cause regret and rejection.... There is a thinly veiled attempt to take advantage of the situation around Ukraine in order to divert the attention of the international community from one of the oldest unresolved conflicts – the Palestinian-Israeli one.
“As you know, in violation of numerous decisions of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly, the Israeli government continues the illegal occupation and ‘creeping annexation’ of Palestinian territories, as a result of which over 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank of the Jordan River today live in scattered enclaves cut off from the outside world.
The Gaza Strip has essentially become an ‘open-air prison,’ whose two million people have been forced to survive for almost 14 years under the conditions of the sea, air and land blockade imposed by Israel,” the statement said.
“It is also noteworthy that Israel’s course of maintaining the longest occupation in post-war world history is carried out with the tacit connivance of the leading Western countries and the actual support of the United States,” the statement concluded.
While Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has remained relatively neutral on the war against Ukraine in order to be able to maintain a mediating role, Lapid has been outspoken in his condemnation of Russia’s actions, explicitly labeling them as war crimes.
Russia warned countries before the April 7 vote that a yes vote or abstention will be viewed as an “unfriendly gesture” with consequences for bilateral ties, according to a note seen at the time by Reuters.
Neither the Foreign Ministry nor Lapid's office had a response to Russia's statement. It should be noted, however, that it was issued in the name of the ministry, and not by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov or his deputy Mikhail Bognadov.
It also did not expand beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to include other issues such as Syria.