UN session targets Israel


On Monday, the first day of the UN Human Rights Council's thrice-yearly meeting on global abuses, Israel was accused of deliberately targeting civilians and violating human rights in the 50-day Gaza war last summer.

Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch, a human-rights NGO based in Geneva, called it a "Hate Israel Day".

Israel was discussed under Agenda Item 7. It is the only country to be allocated its own section on the agenda.

Other countries accused of grave human-rights violations requiring the UNHCR's attention - including Saudi Arabia, Russia, Libya, and Sudan - were due to be addressed under Agenda Item 4 later in the week.

"The ferocity of destruction and high proportion of civilian lives lost in Gaza cast serious doubts over Israel's adherence to international humanitarian law principles of proportionality, distinction and precautions in attack," said Makarim Wibisono, special rapporteur on human rights in the Occupied Territories.

The Israeli and American representatives boycotted the conference in protest against its anti-Israel bias.

"We remain deeply troubled by this council's stand-alone agenda item directed against Israel, and by the many repetitive and one-sided resolutions under that agenda item," read a statement by Keith Harper, US Ambassador to the Human Rights Council.

The UN has a history of what critics say is an unfair targeting of Israel. Last week, the UN women's rights panel adopted a resolution calling out Israel on abuses of Palestinian women while failing to mention regimes in the region, such as Egypt or Yemen, with severely worse records on women's rights.

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