B’nai B’rith International’s representative to the United Nations in Geneva Klaus Netter spoke before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) addressing the anti-Israel bias that has consumed the council, its latest reports and resolutions.
In February, a council-ordered “fact-finding mission” report stated that Israel must withdraw from all settlements or Israelis could be tried for war crimes at the International Criminal Court. The panel also suggested that businesses cut ties to business interests in the settlements.
The settlements issue is a complex one and the “fact-finding” by the UNHRC has lacked any semblance of nuance. The predictable content of the report simply singles out one final-status issue of many, which the Quartet (The United Nations itself is a member along with the United States, European Union and Russia) has said must be resolved only through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. It has also warned against the parties taking unilateral actions outside face-to-face talks, which is clearly what the UNHCR does in case after case by adopting positions that are detrimental to the process.
Israel suspended all contact with the UNHRC following the creation of this “fact-finding mission.”
Addressing the council on the reasons for Israel’s suspension of ties with the UNHRC, Netter said: “After a full day devoted exclusively to a tirade of anti-Israel condemnations at each and every Council session under item seven [focused on Israel alone] as well as an untold number of resolutions and special sessions singling out Israel for a variety of alleged human rights violations, the [fact-finding mission] resolution constituted the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.”
He continued: “Far from advancing the peace process between the two main parties, the FFM report has only reinforced Israel’s doubts about returning to active participation in this Council and produced yet another source of conflict that may occupy this Council’s attention for months or years to come.”