January 13, 2009

Israel Rejects UN Condemnation as 'Irrelevant'

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

(IsraelNN.com) Israel has rejected the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution "strongly condemning" Israel's counter-terrorist operations in Hamas-controlled Gaza. The non-binding resolution was adopted Monday by a coalition of 33 African, Asian, Arab, and South American states. Thirteen European states abstained, while Canada was the sole "no" vote. The United States and Israel are not members of the Council.

The HRC resolution claimed that Israel was responsible for "massive" human rights violations in Gaza and calls for Israel to immediately cease military operations. It also seeks to create a "fact-finding mission" to investigate Israeli actions. The resolution further calls for an end to "launching of the crude rockets against Israeli civilians that resulted in the loss of four civilian lives." However, the HRC neglected to identify which entity is perpetrating the rocket attacks.

The Canadian delegation, which voted against the resolution, and European Union members of the HRC said that the resolution was one-sided. They said there was no recognition of the fact that Israel's actions in Gaza were initiated in self-defense against the Hamas regime's rocket attacks.

Officials from Switzerland said that while they abstained, "the gravity of the situation made it necessary to hold" the discussion. Switzerland was the only European state to support the convening of the emergency HRC session on Israel, which was initiated by the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

'Irrelevant and One-Sided'
Israel's Foreign Ministry spokespeople roundly rejected the HRC resolution as "irrelevant and one-sided." The HRC itself, Israel noted, is dominated by Islamic and non-aligned states, while Western democratic nations "refused to give their support to this resolution or lend it moral credence." Japan, Korea, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine and Cameroon also abstained.

"The resolution... ignores the terrorism being conducted against Israel, Hamas' responsibility for events, the fact that for years Israeli citizens have been exposed to rocket and mortar fire launched by Hamas and other terrorist organizations, the use of civilians as human shields by the Hamas terrorist organization, in violation of international law, and its total unwillingness to assist the political process and the true interests of Israelis and Palestinians alike," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Israel sees the resolution as "nothing more than an extension of the 18 resolutions condemning Israel that the Council has adopted so far, in regular and special sessions." Of the nine special sessions called by the HRC, five have focused on condemnation of Israel.

"The politically-motivated, almost exclusive focus on Israel has become a repulsive habit of the Council," the Foreign Ministry said, adding that the Human Rights Council is once again exposing "its true face as a body exploited by states whose behavior is far from ideal, where human rights are concerned. This allows the Council's attention to be diverted from most of the regions of the world, while the fate of their residents is left to criminal negligence or abuse by Council members or their allies."

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