Testimony at the UN
UN Human Rights Council, 9th Session, Agenda Item 7
Debate on “Occupied Arab Territories, Including Palestine”
18 September 2008
Under a September 18, 2008 ruling by the UN Human Rights Council, it is now prohibited to quote Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s critique of the council’s special agenda item targeting Israel, during debates held under the council’s special agenda item targeting Israel. So ruled Ambassador Elchin Amirbayov of Azerbaijan, vice-president of the 47-nation body, after UN Watch quoted from Ban Ki-moon’s June 2007 statement. (See full transcript below.) During a vitriolic session, Amirbayov expressed no objections when governments and NGO speakers compared Israel to Nazi Germany, treating each with full parliamentary protocol. However, after UN Watch responded, he banged on the gavel, declined to thank UN Watch, and ruled against any questioning of the the council agenda. On previous occasions, UN Watch speeches quoted Ban Ki-moon’s remarks without incident.
Palestinian UN Envoy Compares Israelis to Nazis, UN Watch Responds
Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “The mission is to conclude that there is a possibility that the shelling of Beit Hanoun constituted a war crime.”
Iran: “We also share the conclusion that the shelling of Beit Hanoun constituted a war crime… which amounts to a crime against humanity.”
Palestinian Observer: “Ethnic cleansing, which Israel continues to commit, is a crime against humanity.”
Algeria: “The conclusion of the mission shows that the attack against Beit Hanoun was premeditated and led to war crimes that must be condemned.”
Cuba for Non-Aligned Movement: “The NAM demands from the state of Israel, a public investigation to determine those responsible for this murderous act and the provision of reparation to the victims of the shelling, which constitutes a war crime…”
Iran: “The plight of the Palestinian people who have been subjected to occupation, aggression, massive and systematic violation of human rights by the Zionist regime for more than six decades should not be forgotten.”
Sri Lanka: “Sri Lanka recognizes the horror of what was perpetrated by several European countries against the Jews for many centuries and in particular during the Holocaust and we are glad that such anguish will not reoccur…We also understand the need to compensate for earlier aberrations after the Second World War. However, that this compensation should have been at the expense of innocent others is something we still cannot understand.”
Palestine: “The Palestinian people, tormented by persecution and humiliation, mirror the past suffering of Jews in Europe… This occupation, which has transformed Gaza into a large concentration camp and the West Bank into isolated Ghettos, cannot be sustained…. Israel knows exactly the meaning of concentration camps and ghettos!”
Libyan-created front organization (“International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination”):
“Present-day Holocaust of Palestinian people… great Israeli lobby would accuse us of anti-Semitism…”
18 September 2008
Response of UN Watch
Hillel Neuer asked the council to reconsider its methods of adopting one-sided agenda items and resolutions, and quoted supporting statements by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Secretary-General Kofi Annan. While the Palestinian representative compared Israelis to Nazis, during World War II it was the leader of the Palestinians, the Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini, who sat with Hitler in Berlin to help plan the Nazi genocide of the Jews.
Ruling by UN Human Rights Council Vice-President, Ambassador Elchin Amirbayov of Azerbaijan
[Bangs on gavel] Let me use this occasion, ladies and gentlemen, just to draw the attention of all present that we’re here in this hall to discuss the agenda item which is called “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.” As I have appealed earlier to the representitives, we have to stick to the agenda item and to talk on the subject of this particular agenda item. We are not here to revisit or to put into question the agenda which has been the result of lengthy negotiations with the participation of all stakeholders. That is why, to more efficiently use our time in the hall, I appeal to all the subsequent representitives to use their time to address the issue in question.