UN human rights head decries Israeli boycott of settlement probe
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UN human rights head decries Israeli boycott of settlement probe

Navi Pillay says she regrets Israel's planned absence from an upcoming meeting that will tackle human rights violations in the territories

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (photo credit: CC-BY Antônio Cruz, Wikimedia Commons)
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay (photo credit: CC-BY Antônio Cruz, Wikimedia Commons)

The UN’s human rights chief slammed Israel Thursday for refusing to cooperate with a probe of settlement activities, saying it was an “unprecedented” move against the world body.

Navi Pillay told reporters in Geneva she “regretted” Israel’s planned absence from a Human Rights Council meeting next year that will tackle reported violations in the Palestinian territories, among other topics.

“I hope that they will reconsider the matter,” she said, according to AFP, adding that it was “unfortunate” that Jerusalem had decided to cut off relations with her office.

Israel cut off contacts with the council in March after the UN announced it would investigate conditions for Palestinians living in the West Bank.

Pillay said no country had ever refused to cooperate with the council, which currently includes Saudi Arabia, China and Libya among its 47 members, and Israel’s continued refusal would be “unprecedented.”

Israel has complained in the past that the Human Rights Council, among other UN bodies, spends an inordinate amount of time criticizing Israel while ignoring violations in other countries.

A spokesperson from Israel’s Mission in Geneva told AFP in an email that Jerusalem would continue to boycott the group “as long as it will be treated differently compared to other countries.”

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