Geneva, November 15, 2006 — On the same day that Palestinian rockets fired from Northern Gaza killed one Israeli civilian and injured another, the UN Human Rights Council met in special session today to condemn Israel for defending itself against such attacks.
The session was requested by the Council’s Arab and Islamic members, who also drafted the one-sided resolution that ultimately was passed. That resolution, adopted by a vote of 32 in favor, 8 opposed, and 6 abstaining, condemns Israel for the “willful killing” of Palestinian civilians, yet completely ignores the willful killing of Israeli civilians by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or any other Palestinian group. The no votes were from Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and the United Kingdom. France, Guatemala, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, and Ukraine abstained.
“Today’s resolution entirely ignores the systematic Palestinian firing of Kassam rockets from Gaza into Israel, which this morning killed 57-year-old Fatima Slutzker, a resident of Sderot, as she was crossing the street with her husband,” said UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, in a speech before the Council plenary. “Another victim lost both his legs in the barrage. Yet none of this is mentioned anywhere in the resolution. Its inflammatory language against Israel will embolden extremists in the region and give moral support to the Hamas government’s recent promise to send more suicide bombers to attack Israel.”
This is the third special session that the Council has held in its five months of existence. The first two, in July and August, also were called by the Council’s Arab and Islamic members to denounce Israel. Both also resulted in one-sided, Arab- and Islamic-group drafted resolutions being passed over the objections of the Council’s Western democracies.
“Today’s exercise has nothing to do with the legitimate scrutiny of Israeli actions or the legitimate concern for human rights in the Palestinian territories, Israel or anywhere else—all of which the Council is perfectly entitled to act upon,” said Neuer. “Rather, for the third time in less than five months, the proper work of the newly formed Council—building its mechanisms—has been interrupted for a political campaign that seeks to demonize Israel at all costs.”
The Council also has held two regular sessions, in June and in September. These sessions resulted in only one condemnatory resolution being adopted against any country in the entire world: Israel. That resolution, again drafted by the Arab and Islamic groups, also was opposed by the Council’s Western democracies.
“As of today, the Council has now held more special sessions to denounce Israel than it has held regular sessions concerning everything else in the world,” said Neuer. “And at its regular sessions, it adopted only one resolution against a specific country, denouncing Israel alone among all 192 UN member states–—making that session, in practice and in effect, yet another special session to denounce Israel.”
“Meanwhile, the Council has not had a special session or passed a resolution on, for example, the grave human rights abuses that have long been occurring in Darfur, Sudan and now are spreading into Chad,” continued Neuer. According to today’s New York Times , over the past ten days, hundreds of Chadian civilians have been killed by Arab militias along the Chad-Sudan border.
For more information on the Council’s first regular and first and second special sessions, see our September Report, “Reform or Regression?”
Full text of UN Watch Speech to the Council