Israel blocks UN mission that singles out Jewish state

Israel will not work with a UN mission on settlements that it said was "flawed and biased" and embodied "the inherent distortions" of the international body.

The UN Human Rights Council, a body with a controversial record when it comes to Israel, named three officials to look at the impact of the West Bank settlements on the Palestinians.

The probe will be conducted by a team of three women, one from Pakistan, one from France and one from Botswana, with a brief to look at the effect on the "civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people" .

The mission, first established in March, was described by an Israeli spokesman as "another blatant expression of the singling out of Israel in the UNHRC and of the uncandid approach that characterises the Council's dealing with Israel".

In response to the UNHRC's announcement, Israel said that it would sever ties with the organisation and warned that members of the mission would be blocked from entering the Jewish state.

"Israel was left with no other choice than to take this decision," said the spokesman. "It became apparent that putting the disproportionate focus on Israel, while systematically ignoring massive human rights violations in the very countries who bear responsibility for this focus, only leads to the contempt and degradation of the important cause of universal human rights."

He said that the suspension of ties should be seen as a wake-up call to democratic countries, "which should attempt to fix the serious corruption of the UNHRC and not allow the trampling of human rights precisely where the international community must raise their banner".

He also criticised the UNHRC for focusing on Israel so frequently yet dedicating "only symbolic time" to the worst excesses of the Assad regime in Syria.

The UNHRC is seen by some as being disproportionately critical of Israel. Its "Special Rapporteur" for the Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, is known for his hostile views toward Israel and his support for conspiracy theories about the September 11 attacks. Last year he posted an antisemitic cartoon depicted a dog wearing a kippah and urinating on his blog.

    Last updated: 11:32am, July 9 2012