U.N. Body Passes Three Anti-Israel Resolutions
July 7, 2008 - 8:09 PM
Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - The United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva passed three anti-Israel resolutions on Wednesday condemning Israel among other things for what it called "the violation of human rights in occupied Arab territories" and the country's settlement policy in disputed lands.
The commission, meeting for its 57th annual session, was due to vote on a fourth resolution condemning Israel for its treatment of Lebanese detainees later in the day.
The first resolution, condemning Israel for the current situation, passed by a vote of 28 to 2, with 22 abstentions.
Israeli Ambassador to Geneva, Ya'akov Levy, criticized the resolution for lacking balance and not putting the current cycle of violence in context. It does not mention that the Palestinians initiated the violence two months after they refused to continue with negotiations after last summer's Camp David summit, he said.
"Peace cannot be reached by calling on Israel alone to make concessions," Levy told the body. "Nor can peace be attained by laying blame on only one side."
This resolution, Levy said in a statement, does not give the Palestinians the incentive to return to negotiations to settle the outstanding issues. Instead it encourages them to seek international condemnation of Israel in the passage of resolutions, while pursuing violence.
The U.S., one of the two nations to oppose the resolution, defended its decision saying that such texts did not improve the prospects for peace.
Ambassador Shirin Tahir-Kheli, heading the U.S. delegation told the commission that resolutions like these "do not reflect the complexities of the situation. Nor do they present a balanced assessment."
"The commission should be urging the parties to fulfill their commitments and end the cycle of violence," Tahir-Kheli said.
"By adopting this resolution," Tahir-Kheli added, "the commission would fail to fulfill its potential to contribute to the protection of human rights in the Middle East," and further internationalize the conflict.
"The issues that divide the Palestinians and Israelis need to be resolved between them in the region," she added.
The U.S. stood alone as the only dissenting vote in favor of condemning Israel for its settlement policy.
Since 1967, when Israel captured the disputed West Bank from Jordan, it has had a policy of planting Jewish communities in strategic positions in those areas, which it considers to be it's eternal Biblical inheritance in Judea and Samaria.
The resolution, which is reprocessed each year, expressed "grave concern" for "the expropriation of land, the demolition of houses, the confiscation of property [and] the expulsion of Palestinians."
A third resolution condemned Israel for what it called human rights abuses in the "occupied Golan Heights."
In his discourse, Levy also criticized the commission for "repeatedly and unfairly" singling out Israel.
"The only agenda item devoted to a specific state, relates to Israel and Israel alone," he said. "We are deprived of the right to become a member of any regional grouping, thus we cannot be a full member of this commission."
For 40 years Israel was isolated as the only nation in the world not allowed to join a regional grouping, necessary to be considered for membership on committees, such as a rotating member of the Security Council.
Muslim and Arab countries prevented the Jewish state from becoming a member of its natural Asian grouping.
Last year, due to U.S. campaigning, Israel was provisionally accepted as a member of the "Western European and Others Group," which includes European Union members, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, as well as the U.S. for some purposes.
Inclusion in the group allows Israel to be considered for membership on New York-based committees, but not those that are based elsewhere, such as the Human Rights Commission.