During its 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva that began on 28 February and ended on 1 April, several resolutions were adopted, including three against Israel – two of them in favour of the Palestinians and one in favour of the Syrians.
However, Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post reported that the UNHRC approved four anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian resolutions.
By reading the resolutions adopted, I found that Israel was mentioned in only three. The first “reaffirms the Palestinian people’s right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and the right to their independent State of Palestine.” It affirmed the need to achieve “a just, comprehensive and lasting peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” and called upon Israel, “to immediately end its occupation.”
The second resolution “reaffirms that the Israeli settlements established since 1967 in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan are illegal under international law, and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.” While the third “demands that Israel stop its repressive measures against the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan, and release immediately the Syrian detainees in Israeli prisons.”
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It is not clear what the fourth resolution the Jerusalem Post referred to was, or how all the motions passed were on Palestine.
Commenting on the last resolutions, Israeli Ambassador to International Institutions in Geneva, Meirav Eilon-Shahar, said the UNHRC was an “echo chamber of fantasy and hatred against Israel.”
“The problem with this echo chamber is that no reality comes in but certainly the hatred seeps out.”
But what is wrong with a resolution that reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination? Israel occupied more than three-quarter of the land of historic Palestine and the world, along with the PLO recognised this. Why does she not want the Palestinian people to enjoy the right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and to have their independence? If the Palestinians do not deserve this, why did 41 countries out of 47-member states vote in favour of this resolution? Only three voted against and three abstained.
However, the fact that the resolution calls on Israel to stop its settlement enterprise, which is a violation of international law, has led the occupation state to condemn it.
According to the UNHRC, Israeli settlements established since 1967 in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan “are illegal under international law, and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.” This resolution was adopted by 38 member states. Similar resolutions have been adopted by the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council.
Israel does not want the truth about its human rights violations and persecution of the Palestinians and Syrians to be disseminated. It, therefore, does not allow human rights teams to enter the country in order to maintain a blackout on its violations. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, complained during the 49th session about Israel’s failure to renew the visas of her international staff over the last 18 months. “This gravely undermines the discharge of our mandated work,” she said.
“Israel must also ensure that human rights defenders are not detained, charged and convicted in relation to their legitimate work to protect and promote human rights and accountability,” Bachelet added.
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She said that she was concerned about the “pervasive impunity afforded to members of the Israeli security forces for incidents of possible excessive use of force outside the context of hostilities, frequently resulting in potentially unlawful killings, including, in some cases, possible extrajudicial executions.” These are the kinds of the statements and resolutions that infuriate Israel.
Regarding the fourth resolution, I believe the Israeli daily was referred to the UNHRC’s adoption of the resolution “on combatting intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief.” This passed without a vote.
After Israeli and international rights groups declared that Israel is imposing an apartheid regime on Palestinians, politicians and intellectuals in Tel Aviv automatically believe Israel is being targeted when “stigmatisation of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief” is mentioned.
Commenting on the UNHRC’s resolutions, Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, said: “The vote today does not change our position on the UN Human Rights Council, which is an extremist, morally flawed, biased and essentially anti-Israel body that has been exploited since its inception by the main countries violating human rights in the world as a political tool, including to attack Israel.”
Despite the decades-long international condemnation of Israeli violations, Israel continues carrying out more crimes and violations. However, Israeli officials accuse international bodies of being biased and anti-Semitism. The battle with Israel at the international plenaries will not end as long as Israel continues its violations against Palestinians.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.