Netanyahu: UNHRC cares nothing for human rights

Prime minister blasts UN resolution on Gaza war report; Liberman calls for Israel to cut ties with Geneva body

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on June 7, 2015 (Amit Shabi/pool/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on June 7, 2015 (Amit Shabi/pool/Flash90)

Israel officials on Friday tore into the UN Human Rights Council’s adoption of a report on last summer’s war between Israel and the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip. The report charged that Israel, as well as Hamas, may have committed war crimes during Operation Protective Edge.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to the vote — which was supported by all European members of the UNHRC — that “the UN’s Human Rights Council cares little about the facts and less still about human rights.”

He added: “On a day when Israel is hit by fire from the Sinai, when Islamic State is carrying out cruel terror attacks inside Egypt, in Syria [President Bashar] Assad is slaughtering his people and in Iran the number of arbitrary executions rises on an annual basis, the council decides to condemn Israel that has committed no sins. Israel will continue to defend its citizens from those who call for its destruction and act every day to achieve this.”

The US was the only nation on the council to vote against the resolution. Officials at the Prime Minister’s Office expressed their appreciation for the “principled” American position in opposing the “hypocritical condemnation” by the council. The officials said that over the past few days Netanyahu had spoken with the leaders of India, Kenya and Ethiopia, three of the five countries that abstained in the vote.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that “the decision by the UN Human Rights Council to condemn the State of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is ridiculous. That this happened at the same time that an Islamic terror group was firing at Israel makes a farce of the council and its decisions.”

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman, who served as foreign minister during the conflict, said that the UNHRC decision was “a further piece of evidence that the council is a mask for anti-Israeli and terrorist groups whose sole purpose to is to harm Israel. I call on the prime minister to return to the decision I made when I was foreign minister and to completely cut Israel’s ties with this hypocritical council.”

Israel Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman speaks during a party meeting at the Knesset,  June 15, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israel Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman speaks during a party meeting at the Knesset, June 15, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement after the vote that “the UN Human Rights Commission again proved today its irrelevance and detachment from reality. As the world around us goes up in flame, with a deadly terror attack in Egypt and anarchy in Syria continuing, [the council] continues to focus on Israel.

“The decision adopted today is the result of a Palestinian effort to malign Israel and tie its hands in its just fight against the terror of militant Islam. Israel is a law-abiding country. Israel is the only one that can investigate itself, and indeed does so after every military campaign.”

Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid, a member of the opposition who was finance minister during the war, said there was “no limit to Europe’s hypocrisy.”

Lapid called the report “a bad joke” and added that “not one of the countries who voted in favor today has the right to preach about morality to Israel.”

Forty-one of the 47 UNHRC council members voted in favor of the resolution, including the eight sitting European Union members: France, Germany, the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Latvia and Estonia.

The European countries said they were disappointed that the resolution didn’t explicitly mention rockets fired by Hamas toward civilian areas in Israel, but elected to back it nonetheless.

Only the US, which last week slammed the report as biased, voted against. Five nations abstained: Kenya, Ethiopia, Macedonia, India and Paraguay.

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