Israel accused of “water apartheid” at U.N.’s Cuban-backed “Peasants Rights Conference”

Israel was accused of “water apartheid” today at a Cuban-backed UN Human Rights Council conference aimed at creating a new “Declaration on the Rights of Peasants,” a text the U.S. and EU say will only undermine the universality of human rights.

The Palestinian delegation, one of several co-sponsors of the initiative to declare a new set of collective rights for “pastoralists,” “nomads,” and “hunters and gatherers,” took the floor to allege that Israel “violated all human rights on a daily basis,” and to implore the UN to “end Israeli abuses of the rights of peasants in particular, and of Palestinians in general.”

Critics questioned the conveners’ agenda. “For the world’s highest human rights body to meet this week and say nothing about mass slaughter in Syria, or about upheaval, putsch, and bloodshed in Egypt, is outrageous,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.

“It’s no surprise that this event is sponsored by non-democratic forces such as the Cubans, Venezuelans, Sri Lankans and Palestinians. They are trying to cover up their own abuses, and those of their allies, by focusing on their own agenda. Sadly, the session is one more politicized UN Human Rights Council session that has nothing to do with truly promoting human rights.”

The State of Palestine said that “Israeli aggression” in its 2008-2009 war with Hamas amounted to deliberately thwarting Palestinian agriculture. Settlers killed the cows of Palestinian “peasants” and uprooted olive trees.  They took land from farmers, and practiced a “water apartheid” where water is channeled by Israelis, leaving an inadequate and contaminated supply for the Palestinians. Israel starved Palestinian peasants on purpose, and uprooted them to make room for illegal settlers.

Although the UN now estimates that 5,000 individuals in Syria are being killed per month, the UNHRC meeting ignored the plight of Syrian peasants and farmers.

—  Reporting by Kayla Green

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