Defiant Israel agrees to UN human rights review

Israel has attended a periodic hearing of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR), ending its 18-month boycott of the council over scrutiny of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“Our record is before you. It is not a perfect record,” Israeli UN ambassador Eviator Manor said.

Tel Aviv boycotted the Geneva-based council over what it claimed is bias and regular criticism of its policies toward the Palestinians.

The decision reportedly came amid Western pressure, with Germany warning of a diplomatic backlash if Tel Aviv stayed away.

Israel has come under widespread criticism for ramping up its construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank, including in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Arab members of the council, along with Cuba and Venezuela, have denounced the Israeli settlement constructions, while Turkey criticized the “shameful situation” in the occupied Palestinian territories.

All 193 UN member states are meant to undergo a “Universal Periodic Review” of their human rights record.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which is held once every four years, was established by the UN General Assembly in 2006 to examine human rights records of the United Nations’ members.

Israel severed all ties with the Council in March 2012 after the UNHRC adopted a resolution condemning Tel Aviv’s announcement of new settlement homes and demanded a reversal of the settlement policy.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in 1967.

The UN and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.

By Press TV

 

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