TEL AVIV – Anyone who buys settlement products is an accomplice to an act of war, PLO Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi (pictured) told the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The UNHRC met in Geneva toward the end of its 31st session. Most of the day saw UN member states, including Iran and Syria, accusing Israel of human rights violations against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and eastern Jerusalem.
Later this week, five resolutions against Israel will be voted on, including one that calls on it to give the Golan Heights to Syria.
Hardly any speeches mentioned the current wave of Palestinian attacks against Israelis, which have so far claimed the lives of at least 30 Israelis and two American tourists.
“Settlements only prolong the occupation and undermine the future of the Palestinians,” Khraishi said. “Anyone who buys products of the settlements are accomplices to the Israeli authority and to acts which constitute acts of war.”
“The Israeli occupation has lasted almost 50 years. This has only generated violence and instability in the region. It must be ended if we are going to have human rights prevail in the region,” he added.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein said, “The presence and continued development of Israeli settlements lie at the root of a broad spectrum of human rights violations in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem” and added that Israel’s response to Palestinian attacks was “excessive.”
“Some of these responses strongly suggest unlawful killings, including possible extrajudicial executions and willful killings. Prompt, independent, impartial, thorough, and effective investigations should be carried out into all allegations of excessive use of force,” al-Hussein stated.
The UNHRC softened some of the wording in its settlement goods resolution, no longer calling on UN member states to stop their imports of such products, instead reminding them that it is against international law.
The resolution still urges all states “to ensure that they are not taking actions that either recognize or assist the expansion of settlements or construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem.”
The debate took place under Agenda Item 7, which mandates a debate on Israel at every council session. Israel is the only country for which such a mandate exists.
In protest, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Eviatar Manor, did not participate in the debate. But in a statement to the press, his office wrote:
While 19 million Syrians, Iraqis, and Yemenites are fleeing their destroyed cities and homes; while Daesh [the Islamic State] and al-Qaida are expanding their terrorist networks in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe; while North Korea and Iran are testing their ballistic [missile] capabilities; the UNHRC continues to find it relevant to allocate its limited resources of time, personnel, and money to produce six reports on Israel and consider five resolutions in the context of a dedicated Agenda Item, singling out Israel.
In the course of the last three weeks, thousands demonstrated on the Place des Nations demanding the UN’s attention. But we are sorry to tell them that they are wasting their time. The Human Rights Council is only obsessed with the fate of the Palestinians, and prefers to close its eyes to other critical human rights violations. It consistently disregards the human rights of Israelis. In fact, it does not care for them at all.
As long as the HRC does not undergo behavioral therapy to treat its obsession with Israel, we will not cooperate with these biased mechanisms!
Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday night reassured pro-Israel activists at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington that the U.S. would continue to support Israel at the UN.
“We will continue to stand against biased resolutions and attempts to delegitimize Israel at the United Nations,” he said.