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UN panel blames ‘persistent discrimination’ by Israel for violence with Palestinians

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Illustrative: Delegates arrive at the assembly hall of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi)
Illustrative: Delegates arrive at the assembly hall of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi)

A report by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Israel and the Palestinians blames Israel’s “persistent discrimination against Palestinians” for violence between the two sides.

“Forced displacement, threats of forced displacement, demolitions, settlement construction and expansion, settler violence, and the blockade of Gaza” are identified as “contributing factors to recurring cycles of violence” by the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which also covers East Jerusalem and Israel.

The 18-page report, released today, focuses on root causes of the conflict. The Commission took two trips to research the report, one to Geneva and the other to Jordan.

“Ending Israel’s occupation, in full conformity with Security Council resolutions, remains essential in stopping the persistent cycle of violence,” says commissioner Miloon Kothari in a statement released by the UN Human Rights Council. “It is only with the ending of occupation that the world can begin to reverse historical injustices and move towards self-determination of the Palestinian peoples.”

Though the report places the lion’s share of blame on Israel, it also points a finger at the Palestinian Authority for its own human rights violations and failure to hold elections, and at the Hamas terror group, ruler of the Gaza Strip, for showing little regard for human rights.

The report will be presented to the Human Rights Council session on June 13.

“The report devotes only a few paragraphs out of 18 pages to violations by Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups,” says Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor’s Legal Adviser and UN representative. “Similarly, the report attacks foundational policies of Israel, making multiple false claims regarding discrimination in order to build a case of racism and so that this permanent COI can later accuse Israel of apartheid.”

She adds that the commission operates under secrecy, without revealing who is writing the reports for the panel and how the three commissioners were selected.

The probe was triggered during a special session of the council on May 27 — following fighting between Israel and Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip — when the UN Human Rights Council decided to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate “all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law” in Israel, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

The commission is set to report to the Human Rights Council each year, starting next week.

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