‘Israel won’t cooperate with UN probe of West Bank settlements’
Netanyahu slams UN Human Rights Council as ‘hypocritical’ after the passage of 5 resolutions condemning Israel
The UN Human Rights Council passed five resolutions against Israel on Thursday, including one resolution calling for a UN investigation into Israeli settlements, triggering fierce reactions from Israeli and American diplomats.
Senior Israeli officials, including Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, said late Thursday night that Israel would not cooperate with any such investigation.
“As far as Israel is concerned, there is no validity — neither diplomatic nor moral — to a UN investigation and, therefore, we will not allow it to operate here,” Ayalon said.
Thirty-six countries voted in favor of the resolution condemning Israel’s settlement policy and calling on Israel “to reverse the settlement policy in the occupied territories,” as a first step towards dismantling all of the Jewish communities in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Golan Heights.
The resolution also called upon the Israeli government to adopt stricter measures against settlers, including the “confiscation of arms and enforcement of criminal sanctions,” in order to protect Palestinians.
The Pakistani envoy presenting the resolution called settlements a “violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws.”
Norway, Switzerland, Belgium and Austria voted in favor of the fact-finding mission, as did China, India and Russia. Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Moldavia, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Cameroon abstained. Only the US voted against the motion.
Since its establishment six years ago, the council has passed 91 resolutions, 39 of which targeted Israel. In Thursday’s vote, the council also passed one resolution against Syria and one against Iran.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the UN Human Rights Council a “hypocritical council with an automatic majority against Israel.”
“One only had to hear the Syrian representative speak today about human rights in order to understand how detached from reality the council is,” Netanyahu said.
“I am still stunned by the hypocrisy of the Human Rights Council,” Israeli Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Aharon Leshno-Yaar said, calling the resolution “surrealistic.” The decision showed the extent to which the council had become “a tool to push for one-sided, politicized moves instead of promoting human rights,” he said.
“The Palestinians must understand that they can’t have it both ways: they can’t enjoy cooperation with Israel and at the same time initiate political clashes in international fora,” Leshno-Yaar said.
In Washington, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the vote showed US participation in the council was ineffective.
“Three years after the Obama Administration joined the Human Rights Council seeking to reform it from within, the Council remains as anti-Israel as ever,” Ros-Lehtinen said.
“The U.S. should finally leave that rogues’ gallery and seek credible alternative forums to advance human rights,” Ros-Lehtinen added.