UN rights commissioner comes to Israel

Visit comes three days after UN GA condemns IDF action in Gaza.

United Nations AP 298.88 (photo credit: Associated Press)
United Nations AP 298.88
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Louise Arbour began her first tour of Israel and the Palestinian Authority since becoming the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Sunday, ahead of drafting a report to be submitted to the UN General Assembly. Her visit comes on the heels of a General Assembly resolution approved Friday that "deeply deplores" the IDF offensive in the Gaza Strip, calls for an end to military operations there and urges UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to send a "working investigative team" to Gaza. The Foreign Ministry slammed the resolution, which passed 156-7 with six abstentions, declaring on Sunday that it was "particularly outrageous" for "ignoring the ongoing terrorism against Israeli civilians" by Palestinians. It also said, "We expect the United Nations to show a more balanced and fairer approach toward Israel and not to automatically adopt any notion from those whose only desire is to discredit Israel." At the same time, Israeli officials said they were fully cooperating with Arbour. Arbour said the primary purpose of her visit was "to emphasize the obligation to protect civilians during armed confrontation, and the entitlement of all, Palestinians and Israelis alike, to live free from fear, free from want and free from harm." Her six-day visit will include meetings with Livni, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch and former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak, as well as a visit to Sderot to hear about the security issues there. She will also look at upgrading the activities of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Gaza and the West Bank.