Friday, April 10, 2020

Israel ‘boycotts’ first UN rights council session on Gaza war

By Editor - March 24, 2015
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [UN] [Gaza] [Gaza Blockade] [investigations]

Israel’s representative was “conspicuously missing” at the beginning of the UN Human Rights Council’s special session Monday set to discuss the situation in the Palestinian territories and the 2014 Gaza conflict, AFP reported. 

“I note the representative of Israel is not present,” said council president Joachim Ruecher. 

Although Israel did not provide an immediate answer as to its delegate’s absence at a session overwhelmingly focused on Israeli policies and alleged abuses, a source close to the council told AFP that it “clearly amounted to a boycott.”

The US representative was also absent from Monday’s discussion.

Monday’s session had originally been scheduled to discuss the formation of a probe on last summer’s 50-day war in Gaza, but investigators were forced to delay after the head of the team quit under Israeli pressure. 

Canadian international law expert Wiliam Schabas resigned as chair of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict in February after Israel complained he could not be impartial because he had prepared a legal opinion for the PLO back in October 2012. 

Schabas strongly denied being impartial or beholden to the PLO, but decided to reluctantly step down to avoid compromising the inquiry’s efforts in any way. 

Israel, however, was not satisfied with Schabas’ resignation, and called for the entire inquiry to be shelved, arguing the commission and the Human Rights Council that created it are inherently biased against it.  

Monday is not the first time Israel has boycotted the council. In March 2012, it cut all ties with the body over its plans to probe how settlements were harming Palestinian rights. Relations did no resume between the two until late 2013. 

The US absence at Monday’s session sparked speculation as to whether it was an attempt to avoid sticking up for Israel, as it usually does, amid cooling ties between the two. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party won an unexpected election victory last week in Israel, and Washington has warned that it could withdraw its unwavering support for Israel at the UN due to Netanyahu’s bigoted remarks and tough stance regarding Palestinians in the run up to the elections. 

Others, however, saw the absence of the US and most western nations on Monday as a “deliberate attempt to undermine the credibility of the Human Rights Council,” Pakistan’s representative told AFP, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. 

Although the commissions report on its investigation into the 2014 Gaza war has been delayed until June, the UN’s new Special Rapporteur on the situation in the Palestinian territories was far from reserved in his comments. 

“The ferocity of destruction and high proportion of civilian lives lost in Gaza cast serious doubts over Israel’s adherence to international humanitarian law principles of proportionality, distinction and precautions in attack,” Marakim Wibisono told the council. 

Wibisono touched on the “acute” need in Gaza, and warned that Israel’s continued “blockade keeps Gaza in a stranglehold which does not even allow people to help themselves.”

Last summers aggression in Gaza ended in a truce between Israel and Hamas on August 26 after the death of more than 2,140 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 73 Israelis, all but six of which were soldiers. 

Back to Top

Related Articles

Palestine records first coronavirus death
March 26, 2020

Two COVID-19 cases confirmed in Gaza, West Bank locks down
March 24, 2020

PMRS: Arrest and release of Medical Relief volunteers in Jerusalem
March 18, 2020

Most Popular Articles

Israel’s puppet war unmasks apartheid regime
The El-Hakawati theatre was colorfully adorned to host its annual International

Rushdi Tamimi becomes second victim of Israeli army in Nabi Saleh
On Tuesday November 21st, the body of 31 year old Rushdi Tamimi was

Israel Avoids Hard-Right Shift: No Benefit for Palestinians
With many commentators predicting big wins for the settler movement in

Designed & Developed by: Pixel Co