There was an intense debate today at the U.N. Human Rights Council during the consideration of a report evaluating Israel’s human rights record.
With nine minutes left in Israel’s speech, Egypt called its first point of order, arguing that Israel was breaking procedure by not addressing recommendations on the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), the occupied Syrian Golan, and the attacks on the Gaza Strip.
Israel responded that the Egyptian intervention was a political statement, not a legitimate point of order.
Egypt lashed back, saying that anyone who wishes to object to his point of order should first read the text on procedures.
The President of the Human Right’s Council, Nigerian ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi, intervened at this point, stating that Israel has not yet exhausted its 20 minutes to speak, and furthermore, Israel has not yet been given a chance to complete the review process. Therefore, he said, Israel cannot be ruled out of order.
Egypt agreed, stating that it will wait until the completion of the review process, but that it reserves the right to return to this issue if Israel does not respond to the concerned recommendations.
Iran argued that the working group for Israel’s periodic review did not adequately address Israel’s violations, and called for further attention to the “gross and systemic” human rights violations of the “Israeli regime.”
Germany raised a point of order regarding the name-calling of Israel as a “regime.” The representative said that such language violates UN procedural rules, adding that the council was not meeting to engage in a political debate on Israel.
The chair spoke after Germany, pleading, “In the name of God or whatever it takes,” please use temperance in the manner in which countries address each other.
Iran replied, “Before continuing, I just want to mention that Iran seems to be the only country that has not recognized Israel as a state. I think it it’s the legal right of the Islamic Republic of Iran not to call Israel a state…”
The Chair interrupted Iran, stating, “I am afraid I don’t think that this is shared here across the wall. Israel is a state, recognized in the United Nations, and this is a UN forum…in the UN vocabulary, Israel is called Israel and it is a state.”
Iran relentlessly continued, accusing Israel of flagrant breaches of international law and international human rights law and humanitarian law that constitute genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.