Monday, October 22, 2018

UN Human Rights Council calls for an arms embargo of Israel


By Elizabeth Jenkins - April 02, 2018
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Section: [Main News]
Tags: [UN] [Benjamin Netanyahu] [Human rights] [Occupation] [Golan Heights] [Jerusalem]

The United Nations Human Rights Council has closed its 37th session on March 23 by adopting 10 resolutions five of which concern Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, Golan Heights and West Bank and continued violations of Palestinians’ human rights. 

The UNHRC adopted a resolution calling for an arms embargo on Israel.
 
They asked states ensure their public and private entities “do not become involved in internationally unlawful conduct, inter alia the provision of arms” to end users known to commit serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
 
The resolutions adopted with the strongest support also reaffirmed the inalienable, permanent, and unqualified right of Palestinians to self-determination.
 
The UN body demanded Israel cease the violation of human rights, specifically regarding the transfer of Palestinian prisoners to Israel and Israeli violations of the rights of children.
 
A further resolution declared all Israeli legislative and administrative measures designed to alter the status of Syria’s Golan Heights as “null and void and have no legal effect.”
 
Settlement activity in all occupied territory, including East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan was robustly condemned, and states were called to implement the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in relation to the territories.
 
In January, the UN Human Rights Office issued a report which provided a database of companies that have enabled or profited from settlements.
 
Speaking to Palestine Monitor, former Palestinian Authority minister Ghassan Khatib said the resolutions were significant in light of the, “vicious campaign led by the US and Israel against the international organisations.”
 
Similarly, PA spokesman Yusuf Al-Mahmoud said the Council’s decisions demonstrated the “rejection of the language of blackmail and threats.”
 
However, when asked whether the resolutions would translate into concrete action or change, Khattib expressed reservations.
 
“All these resolutions (…) have no practical impact or practical consequences,” he said.
 
Indeed, like all other United Nations bodies, bar the Security Council, adopted resolutions have no enforcement mechanism, leaving implementation up to the state’s goodwill.
 
The past 70 years demonstrate Israeli disregard for resolutions and a lack of any intention to comply with them.
 
Khattib described the attitude of states as “schizophrenic”, voting to condemn Israel at the United Nations but pursuing their cooperation with and support of Israel in all other regards.
 
“This is why Israel doesn’t take seriously these positions and these resolutions,” he said.
 
Australia and the United States voted against all the resolutions and spoke of bias against Israel.
 
Nikki Haley, the US representative to the UN, furiously accused the UNHCR for treating Israel worse than North Korea and Iran.
 
Regarding this accusation, Khattib commented; “voting against the Israeli violations of international law should not be linked to voting or not voting on other issues.”
 
The United Kingdom, Hungary and Togo occasionally voted against some resolutions and abstained on others.
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu attacked the UNHRC as “circus of the absurd,” stating: “the time has come to change its name to the Council for Decisions Against the Only Democracy in the Middle East.”
 
The strong Israeli and American reactions suggest that the UN resolutions represent a diplomatic setback and that international condemnation is a thorn in their side.
 
 

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