Donate Today!



 

Sign-Up for Newsletter!

 

Popular content

Obama Administration Pushes UN to Thwart West Bank Settlements Probe

Israel believes the aim of Obama administration pressure is to postpone the probe until at least after the presidential elections in November

- Common Dreams staff

The Obama administration has agreed to Israel's request to delay or block the creation of a panel appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, according to Ha'aretz.

Israeli Deputy FM Ayalon traveled secretly to Washington to meet with his US counterpart to ask the Obama Administration for help in thwarting the establishment of the UN panel Soon after the decision to create the panel in March, an Israel official flew to Washington to ask the US "for help in thwarting the establishment of the panel."

U.S. Middle East envoy David Hale met in Geneva last week with U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay and asked her not to advance the matter in the near future.

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials believe that the Obama Administration wants to postpone the establishment of the panel to the latest possible date, hoping this will lead to the unofficial burial of the matter.

Just last week, the UN's Human Rights Commissioner Pillay issued a statement in which she placed Israel as one of the countries who have conducted the worst human rights abuses in the world.

* * *

Israel's Ha'aretz reports:

The Obama administration is trying to delay the establishment of a panel appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Israeli Deputy FM Ayalon traveled secretly to Washington to meet with his US counterpart to ask the Obama Administration for help in thwarting the establishment of the UN panelU.S. Middle East envoy David Hale met in Bern last week with UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay and asked her not to advance the matter in the near future.

According to the text of the decision to establish the panel, it is meant "to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem." However, the UN Human Rights Commissioner has yet to formulate a clear mandate for the panel and has not appointed a chairman or members.

Foreign Ministry officials noted that the U.S. wants to postpone the establishment of the panel to the latest possible date, hoping this will lead to the unofficial burial of the matter. However, the assessment is that it will not be possible to prevent the establishment of the panel, so the aim is therefore to delay it until at least after the U.S. presidential elections in November.

On March 30, a week after the decision by the UN Human Rights Council, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon traveled secretly to Washington to meet with his U.S. counterpart Bill Burns. Ayalon asked for help in thwarting the establishment of the panel and even suggested that the U.S. publicly threaten to quit the UN Human Rights Council if the panel is established.

The Americans did not respond to that threat, as they view membership in the UN Human Rights Council as a central issue in the foreign policy of the Obama administration. However, the Americans agreed to pressure the UN Human Rights Commissioner on the date of the establishment of the panel and the mandate that it will receive.

Following the UN Human Rights Council's decision to establish the panel to investigate the settlements, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman decided to halt cooperation with the UN Human Rights Commissioner and her staff and to boycott the proceedings of the UN Human Rights Council.

# # #