GENEVA, Jan. 31, 2013 – UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer issued the following comment on the UN Human Rights Council’s latest report on alleged Israeli violations.
UN Watch is astonished by the commission’s failure to make even a single reference to our lengthy submission, a 54-page document with 257 footnotes. The UN Watch submission provided essential context that the commissioners inexplicably chose to ignore.
The council report is categorically one-sided, casting Palestinians as the sole victims of the Arab-Israeli conflict, while denying the slighest consideration to any basic human rights for Israelis.
The report disregards the thousands of suicide bombings, knifings, and other terrorist attacks committed by Palestinian Arab groups, failing to acknowledge how this violence brought about Israeli security measures in the territories that did not previously exist.
The report abandons any nuance regarding Israeli communities beyond the Green Line, lopping remote settlement outposts into the same category as Jerusalem neighborhoods, thereby ignoring previous peace plans such as the Geneva Accord and the Clinton Plan.
By calling for the forced eviction of Jews from Jerusalem’s Old City—in what the report euphemistically terms a process of “withdrawal,” as if 500,00 people were like deployed soldiers—the UN commissioners endorse a policy inconsistent with UN conventions on the elimination of racism.
The reality is that the HRC’s fact-finding enterprise is dedicated chiefly to attacking but one country: Israel. In the entire history of the HRC, there have been seven one-sided inquiry missions on Israel, and only five on the rest of the world combined. Mass atrocities committed by Iran, China, or Sri Lanka, for example, have never been subjected to a single HRC inquiry.
Today’s report exemplifies and only further entrenches the council’s biased and disproportionate focus on Israel.
Whatever one’s position on settlements, the report does nothing to promote a just and lasting peace.
Instead, as the U.S. acknowledged when the inquiry was created last year, it has the perverse outcome of pushing the parties further apart, while also inappropriately pre-judging final status issues that can only be resolved through direct negotiations. The UN and its human rights bodies should all be working to advance the cause of peace — not to hinder it.
In a week when the UN legitimized genocidal Sudan, by electing the regime as vice-president of a top human rights body, it is now focusing its scarce time, resources and moral outrage on yet another biased, politicized, and one-sided report against Israel.
Its pre-determined findings are reminiscent of previous missions authorized by the HRC, which failed to acknowledge that there are two sides to this conflict. By choosing polarization, and pushing the parties further away from peace talks, the council’s inquiry breaches its responsibility to promote and protect human rights.
Sadly, the HRC will never have credibility on the Middle East so long as:
– The HRC continues to maintain a special agenda item and special day against Israel at every session. Israel is the only country targeted in this fashion.
– Half of all HRC condemnatory resolutions have been against Israel.
– Israel is the only country excluded from any of the council’s five regional groups.
– Israel is the only country subjected to a permanent mandate of investigation where only one side’s actions are examined. Contrary to the title of the “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine,” the actual mandate, unchanged since February 1993, is to investigate “Israel’s violations.” Actions by the PA, Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad are excluded. Mandate-holder Richard Falk endorses Hamas and has been condemned by Ban Ki-moon for endorsing the 9/11 conspiracy theory.