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US says Israel likely to boycott UN rights review
Published Thursday 24/01/2013 (updated) 25/01/2013 19:04
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President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the 67th General Assembly
session at the UN Headquarters in New York, Sept. 27, 2012.
(Reuters/Lucas Jackson)
GENEVA (Reuters) -- Israel is expected to boycott the UN Human Rights Council next week despite the United States urging its ally to show up for an examination of its record, the US ambassador said on Thursday.

Israel is scheduled to be in the dock of the Geneva rights forum on Tuesday, Jan. 29 as part of the Universal Periodic Review process, the council's regular scrutiny of all United Nations member states.

"They (Israeli officials) signaled that they want it postponed. It is very unlikely they will participate on the 29th," US human rights ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe told reporters in Geneva.

"I'm fairly optimistic we will find a solution that does not undermine universality or cooperation. That is my hope."

Israel's last review was in December 2008, when it attended. A boycott would be unprecedented and diplomats fear other countries might follow suit to avoid scrutiny of their human rights records.

Israel suspended relations with the council last May because of what it called an inherent bias against it, and has informally told the council's president, Poland's ambassador, that it wants the session postponed, a UN spokesman said.

"A decision will be taken in the event Israel does not show up for its UPR, the council will decide on a course of action. States are working very hard behind the scenes to come up with a solution," council spokesman Rolando Gomez told Reuters.

Islamic states, often led by Pakistan and Iran in the forum, would have to agree to any postponement of the examination of Israel's record. The next UPR sessions are in April and October.

A team of UN investigators, set up by the council last year, is due to report soon on whether Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories violate international human rights law. Washington cast the only vote against the initiative brought by the Palestinian Authority.

The United States was re-elected by the UN General Assembly in November to the 47-member state forum, which it first joined in 2009 after the Bush administration snubbed it.

"We see a strong bias against Israel that has not gone away," Donahoe said on Thursday.

But Washington has urged its ally to take part in the UPR whose universality it does not want to see "broken", she said.

"We have encouraged Israel to come to the UPR, to tell its story, to present its own narrative of its human rights situation. We think it is a good opportunity to do that."

Donahoe added: "My feeling is members understand that it is not only about Israel."
1 ) AKeenReader / UK
24/01/2013 18:46
Allegations by Israel & US that UN agencies are biased against Israel, but seem to forget bias of US against the Palestinians. Surprisingly when it suits Israel it supports UN agencies otherwise most times it doesn't. Get used to it Israeli idiots.

2 ) Mitri I. Musleh / Canada
24/01/2013 19:34
Since when does telling the truth becomes a 'bias' issue?

3 ) tania / usa
24/01/2013 20:20
It is interesting to note, that if the PA was scrutinized they would blame hamas, and we all know hamas cannot be held to any standard cause they are not going to be scrutinized by the UN. same goes for fatah. So, in short, any human rights violations that the israel accuses the palestinians, they in turn will blame hamas or fatah,
On a side note, why is it that hamas can say they are peacfull and that their military wing is responsible but israel cannot?

4 ) random / ak
24/01/2013 21:53
who cares things will happen anyway behave and dont get written up

5 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
24/01/2013 23:22
He Mitri - when is the last time the UNHRC investigated human rights violations by Arabs against Israel? They haven't. That's what is meant by "bias" - because the UNHRC is indeed biased. And, #1, if the U.S. is biased against the Palestinians, why does it give them $600 million/year and look the other way when Palestinians kill their own people. Didn't you read the Maan headline today about Hamas arresting reporters in Gaza? Didn't you hear the PA will do nothing against honor killings?

6 ) ian / australia
25/01/2013 00:27
Israel has a nifty answer for everything. There must be a "unit" which dreams them up. Criticism becomes bias. The harsher the criticism, the stronger the "bias". It's brilliant. The issue becomes "Does the UN have an anti-Israel bias?" not "Is Israel's behaviour criminal?" Also, is there something new about the US position as expressed by Human Rights Ambassador Eileen Donahoe: "We have encouraged Israel to come to the UPR, to tell its story, to present its own narrative of its human rights

7 ) ian / australia
25/01/2013 00:28
(contd.) situation. We think it is a good opportunity to do that."? That's not protecting Israel. That's EXPOSING Israel. Making it reveal and account for itself. (The idea of Israel's "...own narrative of its human rights situation" is hilarious. You could sell tickets for it.) Ambassador Donahoe's statement looks more like the US cutting Israel adrift, while giving it enough rope...so to speak.

8 ) @ Tania-3 / USA too
25/01/2013 00:42
Even though it may have two governments, according to the UNGA Palestine is a state, so it's leaders can be charged, held accountable, and have their freedom to travel resticted for fear of arrest, just as Israeli leaders had such concerns when going to England recently. And now that Palestine is a state, the world should not allow obvious Hamas war criminals to travel, so freely, while Israeli leader are held to a higher standard, while acting in arguably self-defense !!!

9 ) PA (fr) / Pa
25/01/2013 01:15
Why would a sovereign state attend a bashing roast by a body that has lost all it's credibility when it comes to "human rights"? The abusers sit in judgement of the abused.

10 ) carine / UK
25/01/2013 03:06
"We have encouraged Israel........to present it's own narrative of it's human rights situation." There's no need Ms Donahoe - Israel's human rights situation is in our face every single day.

11 ) Mel / USA
25/01/2013 03:19
Since when was Israel entitled to any invitation,to any meeting/forum,never mind one concerning Zionism's terrible ABUSE OF Jewish power,since post WW2! Israel should be kicked OUT of the UN,& any other international forums/organizations,&SUBPOENERED,until Zionist-terrorist-led Israel RESPECTS & conforms 2 international LAWS/Conventions! "We hold these truths(of Israel's 64 yrsWAR CRIMES)to be self-evident"& EXPECT Israel to be SANCTIONED,as other ROGUE nations/states are.STOP THE US taxCHECKS!

12 ) Arnold / Canada
25/01/2013 05:03
What is laughable is that the UN does not bother to ask Palestinians to review Palestinian human rights of their own people.

13 ) lol / hrc is joke
25/01/2013 05:37
UNHRC, is a “hypocritical council with an automatic majority against Israel“. Bibi .

14 ) Julie / USA
25/01/2013 05:43
the perfect solution for izrahell's intransigence is to revoke their entire UN membership. they NEVER abide by the rules anyway, so kick them OUT!

15 ) Around / World
25/01/2013 14:28
It is obvious that the only thing which is uniting countries inside UN is their hatred toward America, West, Israel and Jews. As soon as UN stops talking about Israel they can not agree on anything.

16 ) EE / UK
25/01/2013 14:31
It looks and sounds funny when palestinians start talking about human rights - the same people who are launching anti-tank missiles into school buses and slit throats of 4-days old babies. The acceptance of the palestinians in those international human right institution will eliminate whatever remaining credibility those institutions had. Same is true in the regard to UN. Palestinians hijacked UN, the UN's obsession with palestinians renders that organization more and more irrelevant.

17 ) PA / PLO
25/01/2013 14:32
What I do not understand is why palestinians keep asking US and EU for money. They should go to those countries which make up the majority at UN General Assembly. Let those countries who vote for Palestinian UN membership to foot the bill and put their money next to their votes.

18 ) UN / UNESCO
25/01/2013 14:33
It is time to defund UN and boot them out of New-York. Let them move their headquarter to Moscow, Beijing, Damascus, Gaza, Caracas, Ramallah, Cairo, Bengasi, Tripoli, Paris, Madrid or other nice place. Let them accept palestinians, Hamas, PLO, Hezbollah, Al-Qaida as a full members or observing members or something else. Let Coffy Annan to lead those crooks and terrorists again. US and West should not do anything to UN, just stop giving them money, let them use rubles, yuans or whatever they want

19 ) Andy / UK
25/01/2013 20:43
@ 17: The same reason Israel has been sneakily bleeding the US dry for decades perhaps? Anyhow , the US and EU should pay out money to the Palestinians in reparation for the uncritical and criminal support they have given the rogue state of Israel over the years. I still can't work out why you think the 138 countries that voted yes should pay for the crimes of the morally bankrupt who voted no or abstained... Maybe that's your idea of democracy....

20 ) JoeUSA / USA
26/01/2013 22:36
Many oxymorons in life like Military intelligence , married bliss and Israel Human rights.....Say no more.

21 ) Kwilkes / USA
27/01/2013 13:26
If Palestine were the "power" , or the one in control of commerce and government for the entire region, I'm sure the UN would correctly call Palestine in account for its actions. However, Israel is charged with the stewardship of Palestinian taxes, lands, sanitation, commerce and many other factors which, to me, is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Israel has been used by the US and Europe as a distraction for the Middle East to create division and opportunities for commerce.

22 ) ian / australia
27/01/2013 23:17
#12 "What is laughable is that the UN does not bother to ask Palestinians to review Palestinian human rights of their own people." Huh? The article is about "the Universal Periodic Review process, the council's regular scrutiny of all United Nations member states." When Palestine is upgraded to member state, it's turn will come to be scrutinised under UPR. (And I'm sure it won't be whining about it or boycotting it!)
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