Senior Hamas official Ismail al-Ashqar addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Monday, calling on Israel to immediately release Hamas members who are being held in Israeli jails.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the event, condemning the UN body for hosting the representative of an organization dedicated to murdering Jews. Yigal Palmor, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, added: “Only a twisted mind can put Hamas and human rights together.”
Israel has arrested several Hamas legislators over the past few months — including Aziz Dwaik, the group’s parliamentary speaker, from Jerusalem.
MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) called the UNHRC’s invitation of al-Ashqar a disgrace for an organization that purports to care about human rights.
“This is a new record for the world’s anti-Israel lie industry. Hamas, which is firing missiles at the homes of innocent civilians, is received with open arms by the same group which regularly condemns Israel’s actions,” stated Hotovely.
The UNHRC has been accused by the United States and Israel of pursuing an agenda which disproportionately focuses more on Israel than any other country. In 2009, the council approved the Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead. The council is made up of 47 states, some of which are accused of human rights violations, including China, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Al-Ashqar is a member of parliament who heads the Committee of Interior and Security Affairs in the Palestinian Legislative Council. His visit to Switzerland is the second of a Hamas official in the past few months, Ynet News reported.
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