First Published: 2017-03-20

Israel apartheid row reaches UN rights council
UN special rapporteur on occupied Palestine, Michael Lynk, charges Israel with 'subjugation of [Palestinians'] humanity' as US, Israel continue to accuse UN of bias.
Middle East Online

UN official Rima Khalaf resigned over another report in which she accused Israel of being an "apartheid state"

LONDON - A United Nations rights expert issued a blistering criticism of Israel's policies on Monday, deepening a row over alleged anti-Israel bias within the UN following US pressure.

In a report, the UN special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, Michael Lynk, charged Israel with "the subjugation of (Palestinians') humanity" and intensifying a crackdown on human rights campaigners.

Lynk made the claims in a report presented to the UN rights council during the Geneva-based body's mandated session on Israel, known as Agenda Item Seven.

Israel is the only country targeted with a dedicated rights council agenda item.

The Jewish state and its supporters, notably in Washington, have repeatedly highlighted Agenda Item Seven as evidence of the council's credibility gap, arguing it cannot be effective while disproportionately targeting Israel.

President Donald Trump's administration has taken those concerns to the next level, with top diplomat Rex Tillerson publicly threatening to withdraw from the council over its "biased agenda item against Israel."

The State Department blasted the council again Monday for holding its Israel debate and vowed in a statement "to vote against every resolution put forth under this agenda item."

Washington also boycotted Monday's event that saw a group of majority Muslim nations repeatedly denounce Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

The European Union condemned the continuing loss of life on all sides but voiced concern that Lynk's mandate and the Israel debate was one-sided.

Lynk's scathing findings were issued days after UN official Rima Khalaf resigned over another report in which she accused Israel of being an "apartheid state".

Khalaf, a Jordanian national, said she had resisted a request from UN chief Antonio Guterres to withdraw the report.

Trump's administration had demanded that the report by UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia be withdrawn and welcomed Khalaf's resignation.

Meanwhile, as part of its obligations under the Israel agenda item, Guterres's office presented its latest findings to the council on Monday.

"Chronic violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by all parties have persisted," the secretary general's office said, condemning Israel over settlement expansion among other offences.

Guterres faces heightened risks in taking on Trump's administration over Israel.

Washington funds roughly a quarter of all UN activities but Trump's initial budget proposal foresees significant reductions.

Guterres's office last week urged the US to rethink any "abrupt funding cuts."

 

UN eyes new Western Sahara talks after Polisario pullback

UK warns of ‘increased level of terrorist activity’

Merkel warns EU-Turkey ties 'severely hit' by Ankara developments

Pope Francis leads mass in Egypt

420 tonnes of plastic bags seized in year in Morocco since ban

Pope lifts spirits of Egypt's persecuted Christians

Erdogan says Turkey, US can turn Raqa into 'graveyard'

Hamas to amend controversial charter

Turkish authorities block access to Wikipedia

President of European rights group censured for Assad meeting

Pope Francis flies to Egypt as 'pilgrim of peace'

Palestinians protest to support prisoners on hunger strike

Turkish army, Syrian Kurdish militia in new clashes

Erdogan to rejoin Turkey ruling party next week

Germany urges EU not to break off Turkey accession talks

OPCW says chemical weapons allegedly used 45 times in Syria

Netanyahu slams German foreign minster as 'insensitive'

Erdogan hopes for 'new page' with US under Trump

UN Security Council calls for Polisario pullback from Guerguerat

UN envoy to Libya to visit Sudan for peace talks

Tunisian PM booed out of town hall meet

Russian spy ship sinks off Turkish coast

London police arrest ‘terror act’ knifeman by parliament

Palestinians strike in support of protesting prisoners

Two Saudi soldiers killed in rocket attack near Yemen border

German soldier plots attack under refugee disguise

Iraq forces retake town of Hatra from IS

Syria accuses Israel of strike near Damascus airport

10 dead after strikes on rebel-held hospitals in Syria

Turkey’s AKP to hold special congress readmitting Erdogan

EU reviews Libya request for naval equipment

Jail terms over death of Moroccan fishmonger

UN appoints Syrian Olympic swimmer as ambassador

Bahraini activist on hunger strike behind bars

Calls on Saudi social media for jobless protest

Tunisian coastguards no match for high-speed smugglers

US wants 'strong, democratic' Turkey: ambassador

Israeli tank trades shots with Hamas in Gaza

Syria says France 'hiding truth' about chemical attack

NATO chief warns Turkey to respect ‘rule of law’

Exiled Turkish journalist urges EU to confront Erdogan

Mass funeral for dozens slain in Syria bus attack

Qatar insists Baghdad had ‘full knowledge’ of hostage deal

UN eyes new Yemen peace talks

Erdogan resumes Gulen arrests after referendum win