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Israel boycotts UN rights scrutiny session
Published Tuesday 29/01/2013 (updated) 01/02/2013 10:51
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Israel severed contacts with the UN Human Rights Council after its
launch in March 2012 of an international investigation into settlements
in the occupied West Bank.(MaanImages/file)
GENEVA (Reuters) -- Israel boycotted a United Nations human rights forum on Tuesday where it was due to have its record reviewed, setting a precedent feared by many Western and other states.

The current president of the Human Rights Council, Poland's ambassador Remigiusz Henczel, noted the absence of the Israeli delegation and ordered the meeting suspended briefly to decide how to proceed.

He called it "an important issue and unprecedented situation", inviting comment by the council's 47 members as well as observer states.

Israel, which would be expected to face criticism for its practices in the Palestinian territories, suspended relations with the council last May because of what it called an inherent bias against it.

Israel's last review was in December 2008, when it attended. Diplomats said last week that they feared an unprecedented boycott would lead other countries to follow suit to avoid scrutiny of their human rights records.

"As the only recalcitrant state among 193, Israel's deliberate absence would sabotage the principle of universality," Peter Splinter, Geneva representative of Amnesty International to the UN in Geneva, said in a blog on Tuesday.

Meanwhile 15 Israeli and Palestinian human rights organisations warned of the far-reaching consequences of Israel’s refusal to fully cooperate with the United Nations.

"This lack of transparency will not only mean that Israel avoids rigorous criticism of its violations of international law, but that the entire UPR system will be undermined by the loss of its two fundamental principles: equality and universality," the groups said in a statement.

US human rights ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, speaking to reporters last week, said of the US ally: "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."

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.

The initiative was brought to the 47-member forum by the Palestinian Authority. Israel's ally the United States was the only member to vote against it.

The council said Israel's planned construction of new housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem undermined the peace process and posed a threat to the two-state solution and the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

Israel's Foreign Ministry condemned the decision at the time, saying: "The establishment of this mission is another blatant expression of the singling out of Israel in the UNHRC."

The Ministry also vowed that Israel would not cooperate with the fact-finding mission will and will not allow its members to enter Israel or the Palestinian territories.

Ma'an staff in Bethlehem contributed to this report.
1 ) AKeenReader / UK
29/01/2013 17:04
Confirms that barbaric Israeli govt has something to hide. Yet another step to procecuting Israel at the ICC. Seems that Israeli's are digging their own grave and the end coming nearer and nearer each day.

2 ) Previously & / Today
29/01/2013 17:22
Previously, when the UNGA was lead by a former-Nazi in 1975, it passed grossly unfair resolutions like "Zionism is Racism" (# 3379), and
Today, "Israel boycotts UN rights scrutiny session" because the UN is being just as GROSSLY UNFAIR again, by:
- IGNORING 1,000s of ARAB WAR CRIMES, while
- FOCUSING ON JEWISH BUILDING ON DISPUTED LANDS, that haven't belonged to any independant state, since the biblical kingdoms of Israel.

3 ) @ Akenn-1 / USA
29/01/2013 17:36
- You put too much faith in the ICC, and you and some UN leaders need a refresher course in what world priorities should really be, where "UN rights scrutiny" should be focused on the on-going Syrian genocide, where just yesterday, 65 were executed with hands tied behind their backs.
- Israel's BUILDING ON DISPUTED LANDS, that were previously part of biblical Israel, but never since part of "Palestine", nor any other sovereign independant state SHOULD NOT BE A WORLD PRIORITY !!

4 ) Bemused / New Zealand
29/01/2013 19:57
If Israel doesn't implement UN resolutions , refuses to abide by international law, and fails to participate in required fora, 1) why does Israel even want to be a member of the UN and 2) why doesn't the UN kick it out of the organisation for its failure to honour its obligations of membership?

5 ) JoeUSA / USA
29/01/2013 20:17
Typical Israeli Hasbara :" Condemning a report/investigation before it even happens". Like accepting the Wye Rive Agreement with just 14 reservations. Yes , only , 14 reservations . The Chutzpah.

6 ) Carol Scheller / Switzerland
29/01/2013 21:16
To number 3 : How can you compare what is happening in Syria with Israeli actions in Palestine, the territory it occupies with according responsibities under international law ? Israeli soldiers have murdered six young Palestinians in the first weeks of our "Happy New Year". They were unarmed. Need I evoke the image of the average protection of the Israeli soldier ? Ignoring the UN Human Rights Council is more than a cowardly decision. As the child of the UN - Israel owes it respect.

7 ) AKeenReader / UK
29/01/2013 21:31
3)@Akeen-1/USA.... You are another dreamer added to the Israeli list of biblical fantasies. You seem to forget that 138 countries voted on an independant Palestinian state for barbaric Israeli actions. So get real and stop quoting imaginary biblical fantasies. You all are now shitti*g in your pants thats why you didn't want Palestinains to get independant status. Cowards under the shadow of US's protection. That's all

8 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
29/01/2013 22:24
Keen reader seems to forget that he and his UK are the guilty party for their colonialism that carved up the middle east according to the UK and France, not according to the middle east. Any turly keen reader realizes the guilt of the UK, and the phony arguments from Switzerland where the blood money of countless terror organizations is kept safely under lock and key under Carol's guard. She forgets it was Palestinian terrorists who blew up a Swissair plane and killed dozens of innocencts.

9 ) Abdul-Rahman / Canaan
29/01/2013 23:08
The person calling themselves "previously" is a lying troll (as all Zionists are). Today's Jews are all converted Khazars from the Caucasus region (who started converted to the religion of Judaism in the 8th century CE) as Johns Hopkins University geneticist Dr. Eran Elhaik has now proven "The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses". Also all nationalisms are MODERN CONSTRUCTS, so you can't use a mythological Bible as a "source" lol!

10 ) Abdul-Rahman / Canaan
29/01/2013 23:10
And of course this same MYTHOLOGICAL Bible/Old Testament says the Canaanites, Jebusites, Perizzites, etc. were already living in Canaan "first" anyway! (see Genesis 15:18-21, Deuteronomy 7:1, etc). And this after even noting the fact today's Jews are Khazar frauds doi: 10.1093/gbe/evs119 and as Professor Emeritus Alan Dowty of Notre Dame University proves; "Palestinians are the descendants of all the indigenous peoples who lived in Palestine over the centuries"

11 ) Abdul-Rahman / Canaan
29/01/2013 23:12
And also this same mythological, Canaanites there first anyway, Old Testament primarily uses the term Israel to refer to the "bad" Northern Kingdom of the Samaritans who are an entirely different religion and NOT Jews! See mythological, Canaanites there first anyway, Old Testament 1 Kings Ch. 12. Also everyone should see bestselling/award winning historian Professor Shlomo Sand, Ph.D.'s new book "The Invention of the Land of Israel" which is receiving rave reviews!

12 ) Abdul-Rahman / Canaan
29/01/2013 23:14
And finally since ALL nationalisms are MODERN CONSTRUCTS (note the very word "nationalism" was only coined as a neologism aka new word by German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder in the late 1770s CE) let us look at just two dates. The Zionist movement had its formative even the "First Zionist Congress" in Switzerland in August of 1897 CE. Historians point to the EARLIER 1834 CE Palestinian revolt against Egyptian Muhammad Ali Pasha dynasty rule as the start of modern Palestinian nationalism!

13 ) Mel / USA
29/01/2013 23:46
Henczel? What is this? A family INTERVENTION? GROW some moral balls dude! SCREW Israel's bullsh*t boycott of a human rights forum! WOULD YOU SERIOUSLY expect Zionists/Israeli's to bear witness or ACKNOWLEDGE their obnoxious war crimes,against Palestine, since 1935?Dream on! You don't tremble&fret about criminal denialist Israel boycotting you! Bypass them! PRESENT your forum to the global consensus,which is against Zionism,&pass your investigations on,to the ICC/ICJ Hague,in person,OFFICIALLY!

14 ) Israeli1 / Israel
30/01/2013 23:25
DNA evidence has disproved the Khazar theory entirely. All Palestinians are descended from the Crusaders. I think I will write a book on that. I will call it the Irony of all Ironies. Scientific evidence? I have none, absolutely none, but that does not stop the Khazar theory either. In any event, we are no longer playing this silly UN game. Go on - sanction us. That will prompt the USA to leave the UN and goodbye UN. Good riddance.

15 ) southparkbear / usa
31/01/2013 00:33

16 ) Colin Wright / USA
31/01/2013 04:51
Pretty simple, really. Israel must not feel it has a defense worth offering.

17 ) Colin Wright / USA
31/01/2013 04:52
To Previously #2 'Previously, when the UNGA was lead by a former-Nazi in 1975...' This is as opposed to Israel, which is by definition composed of current Nazis.

18 ) Colin Wright / USA
31/01/2013 04:55
To Brian Cohen #8: 'Keen reader seems to forget that he and his UK are the guilty party...' Indeed. Both the US and the UK bear a heavy share of the responsibility for Israel. However, I for one hope we mend our ways. Happily, it can all be shut down easily enough.

19 ) gabi / australia
31/01/2013 06:49
#8 Brian Cohen - what in hell's name has the blown up plane got to do with this? You always manage to bring in something quite alien to any argument. Well, I'll do the same. What about Shamir ordering the murder of Count Bernadotte, who had saved thousands of Jews from the gas chambers, because he thought he was being unfair to the Jews in his mediation attempts. Shamir was rewarded by being made prime minister - one of Israel's many prime ministers previously called terrorists by the British.

20 ) Phil / UK
31/01/2013 17:56
19) Brian's point is valid because it brings into focus the way the UN constantly ignores acts of terrorism and human rights violations perpetrated by many of its members, whilst constantly condemning Israel for defending itself.

And leaning on what my government defined as a terrorist won't help you. The League of Nations mandated Britain to facilitate the Jewish homeland throughout Palestine. The British government sided with Nazi Arabs for oil deals. Something they still do today.

21 ) gabi / australia
01/02/2013 03:06
Phil - what your govt defined as a terrorists was because the Stern Gang (heard of them?) and Irgun (heard of them?) perpetrated acts of terrorism. Want some examples? Blew up the King David Hotel killing 92, including some Jewish girl/secretaries; killed two Brit. soldiers, strung them up and booby-trapped their bodies so that when their mates went to cut them down they were killed too. And as well as UN mediator Folke Bernadotte, they murdered another Brit, Lord Moyne. Will I go on?
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