With 29 countries in favor, 12 opposed, Arab countries pass decision according to which Council’s inspectors will prepare special report on human rights violations committed by Israel in territories, issue will be discussed in all Council meetings
Roee Nahmias, Ynet News.COM, 4 July 2006
Diplomatic blow: The United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday accepted a resolution according to which human rights violations committed by Israel in the territories will be discussed on a permanent basis in all of the Council’s meetings.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Yitzhak Levanon told Ynet in response: “I am very sorry that the Arab group took us back to the dark ages of the committee which passed away due to such behavior.”
Levanon was furious following the special discussion summoned by Arab and Muslim counties in the Council, which only began its work a week ago, replacing the Human Rights Committee – the UN’s previous human rights body, which was dissolved in a bid to establish a body in which countries violating human rights would not be able to serve.
Arab and Muslim countries succeeded in obtaining the signatures of one-third of the 47 Council members in order to hold a special discussion on “human rights violations by Israel in the territories” during the Council’s first session.
In the temperamental discussion, the Arab and Muslim bloc proposed a resolution according to which the Council’s inspectors would prepare a report on the Israeli violations of human rights in the territories for the Council’s next session scheduled for September.
In addition, the Israeli violations issue will also be discussed on a permanent basis every time the Council convenes. The next sessions are expected in December and in March, but one-third of the members will be able to summon special discussions, as they did Friday.
'How would you react?'
In a harsh address during the discussion, Levanon slammed the conduct of the Hamas-led government in particular and the Palestinians in general, who “kill children and women and fire Qassam rockets at Israel,” while Israel is doing all in its power to maintain restraint.
“If this would be happening in your country, how would you react?” Levanon asked the meeting attendees.
At the end of the discussion, Israel suffered a bitter but expected diplomatic defeat, with 29 countries voting in favor of the resolution proposed by the Arab bloc, which includes Algeria, Djibouti, Morocco, Tunisia, Bahrain, Indonesia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Twelve countries opposed the resolution, including the European Union countries, Switzerland and Japan. The rest of the countries abstained.
“I am happy that the European bloc showed its solidarity and supported us. Now the entire world knows which body is sabotaging the new council’s functioning,” Ambassador Levanon told Ynet at the end of the discussion.
The Arab countries also asked the Council members to hold a special session as soon as possible in order to discuss what is taking place in the territories and in Arab countries. The Syrian ambassador mentioned the Israel Air Force’s flight over President Bashar Assad’s palace this week.
According to estimations, the special discussion will be held next week.