Archive for the 'Israel' Category

On strike: Israel asks UN to delay report

MFA strike

Israel is asking the United Nations Human Rights Council to delay next week’s scheduled adoption of a report on the country’s human rights record because its diplomats are on strike and have suspended all contacts with the UN.

UN Watch has obtained a copy of the letter sent yesterday by Israeli ambassador Eviatar Manor to UNHRC president Baudelaire Ndong Ella:

“Dear Mr. President,  I regret to inform you that the labor dispute involving the staff of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and its Diplomatic Representations continues.”

“As a consequence of the labor dispute, and as communicated to all International Organizations and Missions in Geneva in a Note Verbale on 5 March 2014, all contacts by the Permanent Mission of Israel with the UN, other International Organizations and Permanent Missions are suspended until further notice.”

“The right to resort to labor action including the right to strike is a basic human right and should be respected by both our colleagues and international civil servants.”

“In light of the above mentioned and in order to proceed and fully complete the process of Israel’s UPR in a spirit of cooperation, I request a postponement of the adoption of Israel’s UPR Report to a later date. I will inform you as soon as possible of our resumption of normal work.”

UNESCO Snubs Israel’s Jews: WSJ Live Interviews Hillel Neuer

Wall Street Journal Live interviews UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer on the U.N. cultural agency’s decision to postpone an exhibit on the history of Jews in Israel

After UNESCO invoked Arab opposition and cancelled last week’s scheduled launch of an exhibit on the Jewish people’s 3,500-year relationship with Israel, the agency came under heavy criticism from the U.S. and Canada, many NGOs, and hundreds of emails sent to director-general Irina Bokova by UN Watch followers. Now she promises to open it in June. Can UNESCO be trusted? Click above to watch UN Watch’s Hillel Neuer interviewed on Wall Street Journal Live.

Full text: UNESCO letter nixing Israel exhibit due to Arab pressure

Letter from UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, dated January 15, 2014. Click here for PDF. To read UN Watch’s analysis, click here.

Bokova Hier

Dear Rabbi Hier, Dear Rabbi Cooper,

Thank you for your letter of 14 January, 2014, regarding the postponement of the inauguration of the exhibition, co-organised with UNESCO and planned for 20 January, 2014, entitled “People, Book, Land – The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People to the Holy Land.” In this regard, I wish to say from the outset that I regret that a number of elements relating to the proposed exhibition by the Simon Wiesenthal Center were still not cleared when I received the letter from the Chairperson of the Arab Group, despite the constructive cooperation and dialogue in the preparatory phases of the exhibition. Continue reading ‘Full text: UNESCO letter nixing Israel exhibit due to Arab pressure’

UN on auto-pilot against Israel

As US Secretary John Kerry is trying to jump-start peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, the UN reverted to its old mode of issuing one-sided anti-Israel resolutions.

Today’s meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), one of the UN’s primary bodies, adopted a resolution on “Situation of and Assistance to Palestinian Women.” Like last week, the US and Canada voted no on the resolution. The Europeans, Japan and South Korea decided to abstain on this draft.

The Palestinian delegate did not resist from making inflammatory remarks. He blamed all the suffering of Palestinian women on “Israel’s brutal military occupation,” and went on to allege that “Israel commits racism, apartheid, torture, seizure and separation of families.”

UN Resolution Mentions Syria 15 Times – to Condemn Israel

The UN’s Economic and Social Council today adopted a resolution on human rights and humanitarian law that mentioned Syria 15 times. Except that Syria’s government was nowhere mentioned or criticized. The resolution was against Israel.

A review of the resolutions list of ECOSOC’s current 2013 annual session shows that Israel was the only country in the world to be the object of a condemnatory resolution — gross abusers like Syria, North Korea, Iran, Egypt, China, Russia, Cuba and Saudi Arabia were all given a free pass . (The only other resolution focused on a specific country concerned Haiti, but this was a non-critical text about foreign aid co-sponsored by Haiti itself.)

Only the US and Canada opposed the resolution, which was adopted 43 to 2, with 1 abstention (Haiti).

In his speech before the vote, the Palestinian delegate alleged “racism and colonization,” saying that “occupation is the ugliest form of racism and terrorism,” and “the State of Israel is a state of terror, settlers are terror, military are terror.”

Syria for its part accused Israel of “stealing historical artifacts to lie about [the] history” of the Golan, and “imposing Hebrew on students.”

Sadly, ECOSOC’s session was once again counter-productive, pushing the parties further apart instead of bridging their differences, damaging the UN’s credibility, and making it party to the conflict instead of a neutral mediator.

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

The U.N.’s Institutional Bias against Israel

It is not just the U.N.’s Human Rights Council that has an institutional bias against Israel, in the form of its infamous Agenda Item 7. Almost every U.N. agency has one or more special agenda items or reports that single out Israel. As a form of widespread bias, the gross and systematic singling out of Israel damages the credibility of the United Nations and calls into question its commitment to the the organization’s own principles of equality, universality, and impartiality.

Following are several examples of U.N. agencies and their special agenda items, reports or programs designed to single out Israel for unique scrutiny and opprobium. This is apart from the dozens of anti-Israel resolutions adopted annually by numerous U.N. agencies, while egregious violations by China, Cuba or Saudi Arabia go ignored. Continue reading ‘The U.N.’s Institutional Bias against Israel’

UN Human Rights Council to Discuss Israel’s “Non-Cooperation”

Minutes of the UN Human Rights Council Bureau meeting
15 May 2013
On 15 May 2013, the Bureau held a meeting and discussed the following:  [...]
Non-cooperation with UPR
The President informed the Bureau that in line with the Council’s decision of 29 January 2013 on 14 May 2013 he sent a letter to the Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN in Geneva, Amb. E. Manor, reiterating his appeal to Israel, the State under Review, to resume its cooperation with the UPR mechanism.   He further informed the Bureau of his intention to report to the Council on this issue during the general debate on Item 6 at the upcoming 23 session of the Council (currently scheduled for 7 June).

The 20 Israeli appeals ignored by the U.N. this year

On at least 20 separate occasions this year, the Israeli government appealed to the UN to take action against Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, in letters sent to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the Security Council.

In these letters, Israel urged the United Nations to act against repeated rockets attacks from Gaza against Israeli civilians, and,  at a minimum, to speak out and condemn the  attacks.

“Inaction today could help ignite an escalation of conflict tomorrow,” Israel warned the UN, while exercising astonishing measures of restraint that no other country facing a similar onslaught of rockets has ever shown.

Yet we are unaware of any UN action whatsoever taken in response. Continue reading ‘The 20 Israeli appeals ignored by the U.N. this year’

UN free speech expert concerned with Israel, Palestinians

During a debate at the Human Rights Council on Tuesday, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression expressed concern with recent attempts to limit criticism of Israel’s occupation. He also referred to his apprehension over the prosecution of Uri Blau and the adoption of laws criminalizing the commemoration of Israeli independence day as a day of mourning, questioning of Israel as a Jewish state and prohibition of boycotts of Israeli products and those produced in the settlements in the West Bank. He said that the ability of individuals in the West Bank to express themselves is limited by the IDF who use excessive force to disperse protesters.

In Gaza, the Rapporteur was concerned by the use of force of Gaza security forces against those expressing opinions deemed unacceptable to the de facto authority. Egypt agreed with his report on Palestine and Israel.

Palestine called for an end to the occupation and for the establishment of the Palestinian state. They referred to the Israeli occupation as “the most flagrant violation of human rights.” They call on Israel to comply with international law and put an end to occupation of Palestine.

The president gave the floor to the other concerned country, Israel, but noted that, “unfortunately, Israel is not present in the room and therefore cannot speak.” (Israel told the UNHRC recently that they will not be participating at its sessions.)

AP quoted Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor saying “We remain totally committed to freedom of speech for all, and we will examine very closely the recommendations with the aim of making whatever improvements may be necessary.” At the same time, Hamas called the report “slander.”

UN Indifferent to Gaza Rocket Attacks on Israel: Ambassador

The absence of any United Nations condemnation of the ceaseless Gaza-sourced rocket attacks on southern Israeli cities is highlighted in a letter Israel has sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council.

“This is a dangerous trend,” Ambassador Haim Waxman, Israel’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, says in comments reflecting the letter’s content.

“During the past month, more than 40 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israeli cities. Israel holds Hamas fully responsible for all acts of terrorism emanating from Gaza. We will continue to exercise our right to self-defense and take all measures necessary to protect our citizens.” Continue reading ‘UN Indifferent to Gaza Rocket Attacks on Israel: Ambassador’

Israeli appeals on rocket fire ignored by the UN, 2000-2008

From 2000 to 2008, Israel sent letters to the Secretary General of the United Nations and the President of the Security Council, describing the Palestinian firing of rockets against Israeli town and cities, as well as suicide attacks. The UN took no action; on the contrary, it devoted a disproportionate amount of its time and energy to demonizing Israel.

Below is a list of the letters: Continue reading ‘Israeli appeals on rocket fire ignored by the UN, 2000-2008′