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Trump's administration had demanded that the report by UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia be withdrawn and welcomed Khalaf's resignation.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


Rebels evacuate Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Sarkozy says life ‘living hell’ since corruption allegations

Turkey’s largest media group to be sold to Erdogan ally

Hezbollah leader says debt threatens Lebanon disaster

Exiled Syrian doctors treat refugees in Turkey

In world first, flight to Israel crosses Saudi airspace

Saudi, US must pursue 'urgent efforts' for Yemen peace: Mattis

US, Jordan launch new counterterrorism training centre

Two Hamas security force members killed in raid on bomb suspect

Turkey gives watchdog power to block internet broadcasts

EU leaders to condemn Turkey’s ‘illegal’ actions in Mediterranean

Ahed Tamimi reaches plea deal for eight months in jail

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting