Envoy to UN says report slamming Israel written to appease "Arab-controlled Human Rights Council."
By TOVAH LAZAROFFPublished: AUGUST 16, 2009 01:21Advertisement
The latest United Nations anti-Israel report was written solely "to appease the Arab-controlled Human Rights Council," Aharon Leshno Yaar, Israel's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said on Saturday.
He spoke with The Jerusalem Post by phone, a day after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay submitted a report on what she termed "grave violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly due to the recent Israeli military attacks against the occupied Gaza Strip."
Her 34-page report was created at the request of the Human Rights Council in a special session it held on Israel in January.
The report will be presented to the council on September 29, along with a separate report that is being compiled by South African jurist Richard Goldstone.
Leshno Yaar said Pillay's report was "written by Palestinians in Ramallah" and "screened by Palestinian lawyers in Geneva in order to satisfy Palestinian diplomats on the Human Rights Council."
It was "totally biased" and based on unsubstantiated information, he said. "It ignores the facts and the Israeli positions."
"As far as Israel is concerned, we trust our military, we trust our legal system and we are ignoring this report," Leshno Yaar said.
In her report, Pillay said, "There is significant evidence which indicates that serious violations of international humanitarian law, as well as gross human rights violations occurred during the the military operations of 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009."
She also accused Israel of harming unarmed civilians and of violating the rules of war with its "blockade" of the Gaza Strip.
Pillay said Israel's closure of its passages into Gaza for all but humanitarian goods amounts to collective punishment of civilians, which is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of warfare and occupation.
She cited the conventions' requirement that "no protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."
Pillay urged Israel to ease restrictions immediately "with a view to the complete lifting of the blockade and other restrictions."
Pillay also called on Israel to "stop its expansion of settlements, which are illegal" and to punish all settlers who attack Palestinians.
She also expressed concern that Israel had not complied with the International Court of Justice's 2004 advisory opinion against the security barrier, which stated that its construction in the West Bank was illegal.
She called for Israelis and Palestinians to receive building permits "in a nondiscriminatory manner" in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
AP contributed to this report.
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