Israel severs ties with UN Human Rights Council, bans them from entry over settlement probe


(ACTIVIST POST)   In a now typical move by Israel to flout international law and blatantly violate its most basic tenets, prevent human rights investigations and refuse to be held accountable for their illegal settlements, they have decided to cut all ties with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), simply because they have planned to investigate the expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Not only are they indefinitely severing all working ties with the Human Rights Council, they are also refusing to cooperate with plans to investigate Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories, which are widely regarded as being clear violations of international law.

It is only logical to assume that if Israel was acting in accordance with international law and respecting the rights of Palestinians, they would have no problem allowing such an investigation.

While refusing an investigation is not, in and of itself, an indicator of wrongdoing, just as refusing a warrant-less search is not an indicator of criminal activity, it is indeed suspicious.

“Working relations, participating in debates and discussion and exchanging papers, sending information and requesting information, and organizing visits and so on and so on, this is all suspended,” Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry told CNN.

According to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, this decision came after the Human Rights Council passed a resolution to create a “Fact Finding Mission on the Influence of Settlements on Palestinians.”

They described the move as “surrealistic,” claiming that the Human Rights Council “is instrumentalized as a tool to push for one-sided politicized moves instead of promoting human rights.”

Unfortunately, this delusional approach to reality seems to be all-too-common amongst the Israeli government these days.

The president of the Human Rights Council called the Israeli decision “very unfortunate,” which I think is a massive understatement.

Israel has also accused the UN Human Rights Council of trying “to satisfy the Palestinians’ whims and to harm future chances to reach an agreement through peaceful means.”

If Israel had any interest in reaching an agreement through peaceful means, they would welcome human rights investigations which could clear them of any wrongdoing.

That is, of course, unless they are actually committing egregious violations of human rights.

Indeed, the Israeli government has shown that they really have no interest in peaceful agreements, seeing as they recently went back on the only thing they were able to agree on (safe passage from Gaza to the West Bank) after the most recent assault on Gaza which left multiple Palestinian civilians dead.

To make matters even worse for their claims that they seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict, they also recently threatened to reprise the horrors of Operation Cast Lead.

The Israeli government further nonsensically claimed that turning to international human rights bodies “is a breach of concluded Israeli Palestinian agreements.”

They said that instead of turning to the international community for some justice, the Palestinians should resume “direct and unconditional negotiations on all core issues within the framework of a comprehensive agreement” if they seek to resolve the issue of illegal settlements.

“Their deliberate choice to foster confrontation and provocation rather than compromise and reconciliation is nothing but a destructive strategy that the international community should firmly reject,” the statement further claimed.

Even more disturbing than this complete divorce from reality exhibited by the Israeli government is Palmor saying that Israel is actually considering punitive measures against the Palestinians.

What these punitive measures would be is anyone’s guess; however, based on the punitive measures already in place, I can’t imagine it would be anything even remotely acceptable from a human rights point of view.

Yet Mohamad Stayeh, the senior Palestinian negotiator, claimed that the threat is nothing to worry about.

“We know Israel is not in a position to take any measures against the Palestinian Authority because the Palestinian Authority is taking peaceful measures to protect its land and its people and this is something very legitimate and legal under international law,” he said.

However, given that the Israeli military actively goes after Palestinian children for the relatively minor crime of throwing rocks at heavily armed and thoroughly trained killers, I do not think that the Israeli government cares about how they approach protecting Palestinian land and the people of Palestine.

They seem to have no problem uprooting people and destroying homes, all in blatant violation of international law, so I honestly have no expectations when it comes to what the government of Israel is capable of.

The media adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he called the Human Rights Council “hypocritical” adding that it “ought to be ashamed of itself.”

As per usual, these comments are not justified nor explained; instead we are supposed to blindly swallow the nonsensical statements as truth, even when they are so clearly anything but.

Unfortunately, it appears that the United States State Department is taking their usual pro-Israeli anti-Palestinian approach to this announcement.

Victoria Nuland, the spokesperson for the State Department, said that the U.S. “vigorously opposed the resolution” on the settlements.

“It’s just going to distract efforts to help parties resolve the issue directly, which is what has to happen here, and it takes up time and limited resources that the council ought to be spending on other issues,” she said.

This is hardly surprising, given that the United States was the only member of the United Nations Human Rights Council that actually voted against the resolution, while 36 nations voted in favor and 10 abstained.

The council announced that their mission would “investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.”

Furthermore, the United States has repeatedly shown that they will take the side of Israel over any concerns surrounding human rights, as evidenced by the reaction to the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, better known as the Goldstone Report.

This most recent decision by the Israeli government to spit in the face of the international community and show a complete disregard for the rights of the Palestinian people is quite troubling.

The logical question is: what will the United Nations do?

If this was almost any other country, we would likely hear calls for an international “peacekeeping force” or some kind of foreign intervention.

However, since this is Israel, which seems to have some illogical and unjustified special status amongst nations, I suspect that nothing at all will happen and many people will forget about this after a few days or weeks.

Tragic though it is, this appears to be the way much of the world approaches Israeli crimes.

As always, I hope I am wrong and they are held accountable for their illegal actions.

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This article first appeared at End the Lie.

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