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Posts Tagged ‘UN Human Rights Council’

Boycotts ‘Disproportionate’ UNHRC Meeting on Settlements

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

The Obama administration refused on Monday to participate in a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting on Israeli settlements and slammed the body for its “disproportionate” focus on Israel.

The council, based in Geneva, debated on Monday a January special report on the settlements that called for Israel to immediately withdraw from the West Bank and suggested that Israel may be liable for war crimes if it does not.

U.S. delegates would not speak during the debate, according to DPA, the German news agency, and in separate comments Eileen Donahoe, the U.S. ambassador to the body, said that “the United States remains extremely troubled by this council’s continued biased and disproportionate focus on Israel.”

Israel no longer associates with the Human Rights Council, in part because of last year’s so-called fact-finding mission on Israeli settlements that culminated in the report. Israel did not cooperate with the council on the settlements report because of the anticipated built-in anti-Israel bias.

The council repeatedly singles out Israel for criticism and has ignored major human rights abusers, some of which are members of the council.

The Obama administration reversed its predecessor’s policy of not participating in the council, and has noted some progress in getting it to address abuses in countries like Iran.

B’nai B’rith International’s representative at the United Nations in Geneva, Klaus Netter, said in a statement to the council that the report was counterproductive.

“Far from advancing the peace process between the two main parties, the fact-finding mission report has only reinforced Israel’s doubts about returning to active participation in this council and produced yet another source of conflict that may occupy this council’s attention for months or years to come,” he said.

UN to Adopt Syrian Text Damning Israel for ‘Violating Human Rights’

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

At the UN Human Rights Council on Friday, Syria accused Israel of violating the human rights of children in the Golan, while diplomats met in another chamber on the same day to discuss a Syrian-drafted resolution, to be adopted next week, entitled “Human Rights in the Occupied Syrian Golan.”

There will be five other resolutions targeting Israel, and about the same number combined covering the rest of the world.

While this year Syria did not officially present the text, its delegate sat on the dais next to his Pakistani colleague who chaired the session on behalf of the Islamic group. Not a single diplomat called out the sheer lunacy of the exercise. Rather, the EU commented that it was “committed to the protection of all, including those in the occupied Golan.” It was willing to “constructively engage on the text,” even as it noted that its proposals last year were not implemented.

Egypt said it aligned itself with the Islamic group.



Later in the day, UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer took the floor in the plenary. Here are his notes:

Mr. President,

This Council is charged with promoting and protecting the guarantees enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Today we ask: is the Council fulfilling its mission?

Let us consider the most basic right: the right to life.

As we heard this week from Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia is preparing imminently to execute seven alleged child offenders including Sarhan Al Mashayekh—who was also sentenced to be crucified over three days. Why is the Council refusing to address this in any resolution, urgent session, or even debate? [Ed. note: the Saudis executed them today by firing squad.]

Three other countries known to execute juvenile offenders are Yemen, Sudan and Iran—yet none of these situations is being addressed by any resolution.

And while there is a resolution on Iran, it is silent on child executions—and indeed the text is devoid of any documentation whatsoever of the regime’s other massive abuses, including against women, religious and ethnic minorities, and dissidents.

Finally, the Council must do far more about the thousands of children subjected to violence and death in Syria.

Now, today we just heard from the Syrian representative about human rights in the Golan Heights. This was a transparent attempt to change the subject from the dire, catastrophic human rights situation in Syria.

Sadly, this has been going on for decades. The United Nations has allowed Syria to present itself as a champion of human rights.

Indeed, a resolution was circulated today—presented by Syria—the same one that has been adopted each year by this Council, on purported human rights violations in the Golan Heights.

This text embodies all that is wrong with giving Syria a free pass. Year after year, the UN enabled Syria to portray itself as a champion of human rights.

- While Hafez al-Assad was murdering 20,000 people in Hama, in 1982, Syria was sitting here, as an elected member of the human rights commission. Two years later, it was reelected.

- A year and a half ago, Syria was elected to two human rights committees of UNESCO.

- A few weeks ago, Syria was elected Rapporteur of the decolonization committee dealing with human rights.

Mr. President,

Let us be clear: the situation in Syria today was allowed to develop, and the Syrian regime was allowed to remain in power, in part because the United Nations granted false legitimacy to this murderous regime.

Thank you, Mr. President.

UN: Hamas Violated International Law, Killed BBC Reporter’s Son

Monday, March 11th, 2013

The UN Human Rights Council released an advance version of its report on Operation “Pillar of Defense,” exonerating Israel and the IDF in many cases in which it had been previously alleged that the IDF committed war crimes.

When it relates to Gazan civilians killed by IDF fire during the operation, the UNHRC report concedes that there was a legitimate military target in the area in most of those incidents.

The report’s tone is more cautious than in past instances, in presenting its findings of alleged violations of international law by Israel:

“In some cases, more information would be required to make a more specific assessment. Based on the information available to Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the IDF did not consistently uphold the basic principles of conduct of hostilities, namely, the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions. Further, the effectiveness, sufficiency and adequacy of precautions taken remains questionable in several cases.”

Surprisingly, the same report offers no such doubts when presenting Hamas’s violations:

“Palestinian armed groups continuously violated international humanitarian law, by launching indiscriminate attacks on Israel and by attacking civilians, thereby disregarding the principle of distinction. The armed groups failed to take all feasible precautions in attacks, in particular by launching rockets from populated areas, which put the population at grave risk. Furthermore, several Palestinians were killed by rockets launched by the armed groups that fell short and landed in the Gaza Strip.”

The report states that Omar Mishrawi, son of BBC reporter Jihad Mishrawi, was killed by a Hamas rocket. The UNHRC report states:

“On 14 November, a woman, her 11-month-old infant, and an 18-year-old adult in Al-Zaitoun were killed by what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel. In addition, OHCHR received reports related to an incident in which two civilians, including a child, were killed, and five persons, including three children, were injured, as a result of what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short and hit a house in Al-Quds Street, near Khilla Gas Station, Jabalya, on 16 November.”

The first incident is the Mishrawi case; the second one concerns Mahmoud Sadallah. The photo of Mishrawi in agony while carrying his dead son, flanked by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah, became famous during the operation and was instrumental in Hamas’s propaganda against Israel. The photo of Sadallah, a four-year-old boy, was used for a photo-op with Egyptian PM Hesham Kandil and Haniyeh.

The UN itself investigated this case and believes that the attack came from a Hamas rocket, not Israel, contrary to the way the BBC reported it, as well as the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Daily Mail and others. They assume that Israel must be guilty by default.

NGO Monitor, a watchdog group following anti-Israel bias among nonprofits involved in the Middle East conflict, in relating to PCHR and HRW, issued the following statement:

“…These NGO allegations were particularly damaging due to powerful, widely-circulated images of the grieving father of the child, who is a journalist. The NGO and corresponding media accounts worked together to demonize Israel for the death of an innocent child… Rather than applying consistent and professional standards to fact-finding, the claims of HRW and PCHR are often the products of instant speculation and the a-priori presumption of Israeli guilt. Later, when detailed evidence emerges that contradicts their allegations, these NGOs fail to publish apologies and retractions.”

Lie to your TV

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel sent out a camera crew to ask the man on the street what he or she thought about the new pope.

Of course, there is no new pope, he hasn’t been elected yet, or appointed, whatever is the proper term for the 15 guys in red yarmulkes blowing white smoke out of the Sistine Chapel. But, as it turns out, the man on the street had no trouble whatsoever coming up with well thought out answers regarding the new pope.

Which makes me wonder if why we even bother to report on stuff, when folks can make up their own news just as skillfully as any reporter. They’ve watched so much television and so much news on television, it doesn’t really matter, one bit of news is indistinguishable from another.



Last week, The UN Human Rights Council exonerated Israel and the IDF in many cases in which it was previously alleged that the IDF committed war crimes during the operation.

Our friend Aryeh Savir at the Tazpit News Agency sent us this quote from the report:

“Palestinian armed groups continuously violated international humanitarian law, by launching indiscriminate attacks on Israel and by attacking civilians, thereby disregarding the principle of distinction. The armed groups failed to take all feasible precautions in attacks, in particular by launching rockets from populated areas, which put the population at grave risk. Furthermore, several Palestinians were killed by rockets launched by the armed groups that fell short and landed in the Gaza Strip.”

Now ask anyone in the world who killed those civilians.

So, your TV lies to you, you lie to your TV. It’s a status quo kind of thing, a modus vivendi, a perfect harmony. Everything your media tell you is a lie, everything you know is wrong—but you don’t get upset over it, you just carry on, producing lies of your own.

Remember the kids in the Hans Christian Andersen story who cried: “The emperor has no clothes”? Well, welcome to our new, well furbished, planetary nudist colony. Ain’t none of us got clothes.

Finally, to stretch Marshall McLuhan’s by now ancient statement, “The medium is the message” – na ugh, not any more. From now on, in our lovely colony, there is no message, only a mic shoved in someone’s face, in anticipation of a knowing answer about nothing.

The Mishnah (Sotah 9:15) noted that “The face of the generation is like the face of a dog.”

What I wouldn’t give for a good looking beagle right about now…

Israel Tells UN What It Can Do with its Human Rights Review

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

On Tuesday, Israel became the first country to boycott a UN Human Rights Council review of its rights situation, and now the world is debating how to respond, AFP reported.

“I see that the delegation of Israel is not in the room,” council president Remigiusz Henczel told the delegates at the United Nations in Geneva.

Israel is not a member of the council, but all 193 UN countries are required to undergo Universal Periodic Reviews (UPRs) of their human rights situation. But last March Israel cut all ties with the Council, after it announced that it would probe how Israeli settlements are infringing on the rights of the Palestinians.

“We cut all our contacts with the council last March, including the current activity,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP, adding: “Our policy has not changed.”

It’s the first time since the reviews began, in 2007, that a country under evaluation chooses to be absent without an explanation.

Council president Henczel called on the council to adopt a draft decision on the way it should respond to the snub by the Jewish state, suggesting it should urge Israel to resume its cooperation with the UPR process.

He also suggested that Israel’s review be rescheduled for no later than during the UPR session starting in October, 2013.

Egypt’s representative declared that the council faced “a moment of truth.”

He warned that a “soft” approach towards Israel would create a dangerous precedent and leave “a wide-open door for more cases of non-cooperation.”

Israel’s main ally in the council, the United States, supported Henczel’s proposal, with ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe insisting – without mentioning Israel by name – that the text reflected the “best effort to find common ground and to protect the UPR mechanism going forward.”

Britain called for a “proportionate and balanced conclusion.”

Ireland’s representative for the European Union supported a “consensual” way forward.

The Pakistani representative would have none of that: “We wonder … whether this kind of cooperative spirit would be extended to some other countries that are not as close to some of the major powers in the world,” he said.

The council adopted Henczel’s proposal.

AFP noted that Israel “has long accused the Human Rights Council of singling it out, noting that it is the only country to have a specific agenda item dedicated to it at every meeting of the council, and that the body has passed an inordinate number of resolutions against it.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-tells-un-what-it-can-do-with-its-human-rights-review/2013/01/29/

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