Israel: UN human rights body ‘almost a bad joke’

Israel: UN human rights body ‘almost a bad joke’

Israel continued to wage a war of words with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) on Sunday, after five resolutions in one week condemning Israel were labelled “absurd” by Jerusalem.

Addressing his cabinet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “This march of hypocrisy is continuing and we will continue to condemn it and expose it.”

It follows a near-unanimous UNHCR vote on Friday to condemn Israel for its treatment of Palestinians, and for its treatment of Syrian citizens of Israel who live in the Golan Heights.

The UNHCR also voted to support the Goldstone Report on Israeli actions in Gaza and encouraged a boycott of West Bank settlements and Jewish neighbourhoods of east Jerusalem.

Among the European countries voting to condemn Israel were the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Ireland. The United States was the only country to reject all five resolutions.

Of the 42 resolutions adopted by the council, only ten censured a specific country, and of these, five were levelled against Israel. Other countries singled out were Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Iran, Syria and North Korea.

But bemused Israeli officials said it was “almost a bad joke” that condemnation of Israeli actions in the Golan Heights gained even more support around the UNHCR council than did condemnation of Syrian brutality.

Ironically, it comes at a time when hospitals in the north of Israel are treating scores of Syrian victims from the civil war.

“At a time when the slaughter in Syria is continuing, innocent people are being hanged in the Middle East, human rights are being eroded and free media are being shut down, the UN Human Rights Council decides to condemn Israel for closing off a balcony. This is absurd,” said Netanyahu.

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