UN Watch written statements at the 48th session of the Human Rights Council

The following submissions by United Nations Watch have been published by the UN as official documents of the 48th session of the Human Rights Council.

A/HRC/48/NGO/31: Report on Arbitrary Detentions by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas

Excerpt: United Nations Watch submits the following report which documents alarming abuses of arbitrary detention and torture by the Palestinian Authority (“PA”) in the West Bank, and by Hamas in Gaza, in violation of international law. We call on the Human Rights Council and all United Nations stakeholders to take immediate action to protect Palestinians from these gross and systematic abuses.

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In May 2021, PA security forces commenced a crackdown in which they arrested dozens of activists and students considered critical of the PA. Many of the detainees were taken to the infamous Jericho prison known as the “slaughterhouse,” where they were subjected to torture and other forms of abuse. They were accused of “stirring up sectarian and racial strife,” understood to mean “insulting the PA.” This is a clear violation of their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association.

A/HRC/48/NGO/32: Report on Hamas Responsibility for Gaza Deaths in May 2021 Conflict

Excerpt: Contrary to what many within the UN have suggested, the fact that 256 Gazans were killed in the latest military confrontation between Hamas and Israel in May 2021 does not make Israel responsible for those deaths or in any way exonerate Hamas which, as a modus operandi, uses its civilians as human shields. Israel has been falsely accused of indiscriminate attacks on civilians and possible war crimes by UN officials, members of this Council, civil society activists and the media. However, an examination of the numbers proves the exact opposite of these accusations—that Israel’s military strikes were targeted and precise, and that it took extensive precautions, beyond the norm in conflicts of this nature and the requirements of international law, to avoid civilian casualties.

As a preliminary matter, it must be emphasized that while Hamas put the Gaza death toll at 256, this number cannot be independently verified and is not reliable. It likely mischaracterizes a high number of combatant deaths as civilians.

A/HRC/48/NGO/34: Myths and Facts on Mideast Water Disputes

Excerpt: In this report we set the record straight about allegations made about alleged violations of water rights. In its June 2020 resolution 43/32, the Human Rights Council mandated the High Commissioner to prepare a report on “allocation of water resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,” to be presented at the Council’s 48th session. This followed a March 2019 report to the Council by Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 accusing Israel of violating Palestinian water rights.1 Indeed, UN member states and officials routinely accuse Israel of such violations. However, these claims ignore and mischaracterize the reality.

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The following submission by UN Watch for the UNHRC’s 48th session was censored by the Secretariat which refused to process it on grounds that it contained “personal attacks against individuals.” The statement, which was submitted under Agenda Item 9 (Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance…) concerns antisemitism among UNRWA staff and, in that context, listed three examples of UNRWA employees who had posted antisemitism or terrorist incitement on their Facebook pages.

A/HRC/48/NGO/__: UN Must Address Antisemitism at UNRWA

Censored by HRC Secretariat

Excerpt: United Nations Watch is concerned by the failure of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to adequately address and remedy the problem of incitement to antisemitism and terrorism among its staff. Just last month, United Nations Watch published a new report exposing 22 UNRWA staff Facebook pages containing antisemitism and terrorist incitement in addition to 100 such pages previously exposed. After coming under pressure from donor states, UNRWA responded by announcing investigations of 10 of its staffers, expressing concern that “some of the posts” detailed in UN Watch’s report “violate [UNRWA] rules and policies.” UNRWA also stated that it had penalized up to 40 employees exposed by UN Watch in the past by censuring them and/or imposing financial penalties.

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In its latest statement, UNRWA continues to avoid the core problem—that the agency employs dozens of teachers and school principals who quote Hitler and praise Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist attacks. United Nations Watch’s recent report documents how these staff ultimately harm Palestinian children. For example, they refused to attend curriculum training sessions on complementary material developed by UNRWA to address antisemitic and anti-peace content in UNRWA’s Palestinian Authority-authored textbooks because they objected to the materials; and they prepared their own complementary material used during COVID-19, which according to IMPACT-se director Marcus Sheff, was “in places, more extremist than the PA material it complements.”

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