GENEVA, July 2 - Despite continued killings today of civilians across Syria, the U.N.'s top human rights body devoted all discussion to its ritual Hate Israel Day. A day against Israel is a permanent feature of every council meeting, under its only country-specific agenda item, entitled "the Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories."
The meeting opened with Richard Falk, the pro-Hamas 9/11 conspiracist who serves as the human rights council's “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.” Then came detailed status updates on the 2009 Goldstone Report, the 2010 Flotilla Report, and the developing council inquiry and report into settlements.
Twenty states and six non-governmental organizations took the floor this morning. UN Watch was the only one to challenge Mr. Falk. The full UN summary is here.
Richard Falk complained that Israel refuses to cooperate with his mandate. He blamed Israel for provoking violence, claiming that Hamas generally does not retaliate. He called for the council to condemn Israel and commission a “study” on prolonged occupation. He also called for another World Court advisory opinion, this time on Israel’s treatment of Palestinian prisoners.
Palestine said that Israel’s actions could be considered “ethnic cleansing.” There was “systematic instigation of racism and hatred” against Palestinian people by the Prime Minister of Israel and religious and party leaders.
Sudan called on the international community to pressure Israel to live up to its international obligations.
Iran spoke of the “flagrant violations of the human rights of Palestinians.”
Syria thanked Falk for his “bravery.” Israel continually refuses all forms of cooperation with the UN expert. Syria would welcomes his visit any time, to visit the Palestinian brothers living in Syria, over half a million people. Israel’s occupation remains the main obstacle for peace and stability in the region.
Jordan for the Arab Group paid tribute to Mr. Falk, and condemned “the violations carried out by the occupying authority, such as extrajudicial killings in a systematic manner.”
Cuba accused Israel of “genocide.”
Libya condemned “acts of torture and abuse to which Palestinian detainees had been subjected.” The blockade imposed on Gaza was “a crime against the Palestinian people.”
Saudi Arabia condemned Israel’s “continued and systematic violation of the rights of the Palestinian people.”
Egypt expressed concern over “the arrogance that Israel had displayed towards the Council and its refusal to cooperate with the study of Israeli practices in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
UN Watch Grills U.N.'s Richard Falk
Testimony by Hillel Neuer
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Thank you, Madam President.
Mr. Falk, your report states that Israel has refused to cooperate with your mandate, and urges this council to pay attention to how this harms the United Nations.
Given that during this time, Israel has invited and received numerous experts of this council, as well as the High Commissioner, on country visits, we wish to ask: Is it possible that the problem lies in your mandate?
The title of your mandate—Special Rapporteur on "the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories" —implies a regional jurisdiction that objectively treats all sides. Yet the actual mandate is to investigate only “Israel’s violations.”
Indeed, speaking here on 16 June 2008, you admitted your mandate was open to challenges over its “bias and one-sidedness.” You added: “Such complaints have considerable merit.
Similarly, has the impartiality of your mandate been helped by your actions to grant standing to Hamas—which takes credit for terrorism against civilians, and whose charter attacks Jews and the United Nations?
Indeed, as reported in the Ma’an newspaper, the Palestinian Authority itself asked you to resign, on grounds that—as you stated—they consider you a “partisan of Hamas.”
Last summer, you published a cartoon showing a bloodthirsty dog wearing a Jewish religious head-covering. The High Commissioner called this “anti-Semitic” and “objectionable.” British Prime Minister David Cameron also condemned it.
Speaking in this chamber last year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “For this Human Rights Council to fulfil its mandate, it must be seen as impartial and fair. It cannot be seen as a place ruled by bias or special interests.”
Referring to you, he stated:
“Recently, there was a Special Rapporteur who suggested there was an apparent cover-up in the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. I want to tell you, clearly and directly. I condemn this sort of inflammatory rhetoric. It is preposterous – an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in that tragic terrorist attack.”
Finally, you give the cover endorsement to this book which I hold in my hands, “The Wandering Who,” which is replete with attacks not only against Israel, but against Jews and Judaism. The material is so severe that 20 Palestinian activists, including Omar Barghouti and Ali Abunimah, founder of the Electronic Intifada, denounced the book and its author for racism and anti-Semitism.
Mr. Falk, are these actions consistent with the principles of the United Nations? Do they contribute to the objectivity of your mandate, and of this council?
Thank you, Madam President.