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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Western European and Others Group’

At Long Last, Israel to Have Regional Home Group at UN

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Israel has long been a nation without a home at the United Nations.  The UN member states are divided up into regions, with committee membership and plum assignments being meted out according to those regions.

Israel, located as it is in the Middle East, geographically falls within the Asian group; that is where every one of its neighbors sits.  But the Islamic countries which constitute the majority of the Asian regional group would not abide having Israel as a member of its group.

The UN accepted this refusal.

That is why Israel has sort of been rotating about in a nether universe, not really in one group, and not really in another. In 2000, Israel became a member of the West European and Others Group (WEOG) but only as a limited member – only in New York, but not in Geneva, where much of the UN official work takes place.

But this week it became official. More than 60 years after becoming a member of the United Nations, Israel will officially join a regional group, with all the rights and privileges of such membership.  Israel will be officially in the West European and Others Group (WEOG) – in Geneva as well as in New York – as of January 1, 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stated in a press release issued on Dec. 2, that Israeli membership in WEOG in Geneva was “long overdue.” His statement continued:

It goes without saying that at a time when the scourge of global anti-semitism is on the rise, it is more important than ever for Israel to have a strong voice that can be heard everywhere. This is a particularly welcome development as we work to end anti-Israel bias in the UN system. We will continue to speak out for our close ally, Israel, and we will continue to support efforts to normalize Israel’s treatment across the UN system as a full and equal member of the community of nations.

No word on why Islamic member nations of the UN have been permitted to bar Israel, a geographic neighbor, from membership in a regional group, or how that comports with the UN Charter.

Report: Israel to Join Europe Group at UN Human Rights Council

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Israel may join for the first time a regional group within the United Nations Human Rights Council as part of a deal to improve the U.N. body’s relations with the Jewish state.

The council’s Western European and Others Group (WEOG) is expected to announce that its member states have voted in favor of Israel’s admittance, The Times of Israel reported Friday.

The European states had agreed to welcome Israel into their midst in exchange for the Jewish state’s return to the council and its participation in its Universal Periodic Human Rights Review process.

Israel had left the council a year and a half ago to protest its alleged bias against it.

Since 2006, the council has passed 27 resolutions criticizing Israel and has convened 19 special sessions, six of which were about Israel. Regular sessions feature a permanent agenda item 7, “the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.”

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and several Western nations have criticized the council for singling Israel out for criticism.

“Though it’s not yet final, we are hopeful that Israel will very soon be admitted into the Human Rights Council’s Western group, putting an end to a longstanding act of discrimination whereby the Jewish state was the only nation to be excluded from a regional group,” said Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch, an NGO that monitors the United Nations.

Admission to the group would allow Israel to participate with all other U.N. member states in receiving regular briefings, and would enable it to have a say in the selection of council investigators, Neuer said. “More than anything, admission for Israel would be a sign of equal treatment, removing what has been an ugly stain of bigotry upon the reputation of the U.N.”

However, he added, “it will not detract from the Arab states’ continued ability to target Israel in resolutions, urgent sessions and a special agenda item.”

Earlier this month, senior diplomats from the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, Germany and France sent a letter to the U.N.’s institutions in Geneva and to the ambassador of Spain, who heads the WEOG, telling them to finally admit Israel into their circle.

On Oct. 29, Israel participated in the council’s so-called Universal Periodic Review, during which it was widely criticized for alleged human rights abuses.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-israel-to-join-europe-group-at-un-human-rights-council/2013/12/01/

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