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Israel Avoids Human Rights Scrutiny
Israel Avoids Human Rights Scrutiny
by Stephen Lendman
Israel is one of the world's most egregious human rights abusers. Palestinians endure ruthless repression. So do Arab citizens.
Jews supporting fundamental freedoms for everyone are targeted. Equity and justice in Israel and Occupied Palestine are verboten.
Israel is no democracy. It never was. It isn't now. It fits the classic definition of a police state. Its current government is its worst ever.
Hardline extremists run it. State terror is official policy. Israel's rap sheet includes crimes of war, against humanity and genocide. It avoids scrutiny at all costs.
In January, it became the first country ever refusing to attend a Human Rights Council (HRC) Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of its own record.
It no-showed. Its last review was December 2008. In May, it told HRC it opted out of what it called "a political tool and convenient platform, cynically used to advance certain political aims, to bash and demonize Israel."
Israel wants its longstanding abusive human rights record whitewashed. It wants it airbrushed from history.
It considers crimes of war, against humanity and genocide self-defense. It calls legitimate resistance terrorism.
HRC president Remigiusz Henczel called Israel's boycott "an important issue and unprecedented situation."
Arab states were poised to criticize Israel's treatment of detainees, settlement expansion and Gaza siege. Amnesty International's UN Geneva representative, Peter Splinter, said:
"As the only recalcitrant state among 193, Israel's deliberate absence sabotage(s) the principle of universality."
Washington's HRC representative, Eileen Chamberlain," avoided criticizing Israel. It's standard US practice.
Without mentioning Israel, she called the Universal Periodic Review "a valuable mechanism both because it is universally applicable to all UN member states on equal terms and because it is conducted in a cooperative and collaborative manner."
Egypt's Wafaa Bassim was less diplomatic, saying:
"It is a clear case of noncooperation and noncompliance by a state under review."
Pakistan's ambassador, Zamir Akram, spoke on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. He was harshly critical, saying:
"What is surprising for us is the level of leverage and the level of understanding being extended to Israel by some countries for its behavior in violation of all of its obligations."
"We wonder if this cooperative spirit would be extended to some other country not so close to some major powers in this world."
He left no doubt which one he meant most of all. Israel's boycott, in part, reflected what it knew was coming. A previous article explained as follows:
"On January 31, the UN International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory published damning findings.
Access them in full through the following link.
They revealed multiple international law violations. Settlements compromise fundamental Palestinian human rights.
Violations are "interrelated." They comprise "part of an overall pattern of breaches."
They're "characterized principally by the denial of the right to self-determination and systemic discrimination against the Palestinian people which occur on a daily basis."
"Since 1967, Israeli governments have openly led, directly participated in, and had full control of the planning, construction, development, consolidation and encouragement of settlements."
UN Mission findings included violating Fourth Geneva's Article 49.
It prohibits "Individuals or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, regardless of their motive."
The Mission said "Israel must cease all settlement activities without preconditions." They benefit Jews exclusively. They institutionalize racist segregation. Military occupation enforces policies contrary to international law.
"The Mission notes that despite all the pertinent United Nations resolutions declaring that the existence of the settlements is illegal and calling for their cessation, the planning and growth of the settlements continues both of existing as well as new structures."
It wants settlement activities halted without preconditions. It calls for "immediately initiat(ing) a process of withdrawal of all settlers from the OPT."
It wants companies and governments to "assess the human rights impact of their activities." It wants them to "cease all connections to settlements."
It suggested possible imposition of economic and political sanctions. With Washington's support, Israel has no fear of being slapped with what should have happened decades earlier.
On October 22, Haaretz headlined "Waiting for Israel at UN human rights agency," saying:
"(F)ailure to appear (a) second time will put one the world's most important international mechanisms for the protection of human rights at risk."
One hundred and ninety-two UN member states await to see if a representative of the 193rd shows up on its rescheduled October 29 date.
It no-showed in January. It may repeat this week. It won't be the first time it thumbed it nose at the world body. It's ignored dozens of critical UN resolutions.
It does whatever it wants with impunity. It refuses to act responsibly. It wants things its own way. It's mostly gotten them so far.
It calls legitimate criticism anti-Israeli bias. The anti-Semitism canard is often cited.
HRC's web site calls its Universal Periodic Review "a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States."
It's an "opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations."
It's "designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed."
All UN member states are evaluated the same way. "The ultimate aim (of doing so) is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur."
The process requires countries undergoing scrutiny to face the music. They're forced to answer questions regarding their human rights practices.
A final report is prepared. Recommendations are included. Scrutinized countries have a right to respond.
If Israel opts out again, other countries may be encouraged to do so. Many don't want their human rights practices examined.
Washington's are by far the most abusive. Its rap sheet includes war on humanity. It includes domestic police state harshness. It reflects global ruthlessness writ large.
America and other Western nations are working cooperatively with Israel. They're trying to manipulate HRC's Universal Periodic Review process advantageously its way.
A plan drafted contains two clauses pertaining to Israel resuming its cooperation:
(1) Letting it become a permanent HRC Western Europe and Others Group member. Currently it's unaffiliated. Its status makes it harder to enlist support for what all nations should condemn.
(2) Holding a separate evaluation of human rights practices in Israel. Doing so would mock its occupation harshness. Western nations largely ignore it. Their occasional criticism excludes meaningful action.
If Israel gets this type special treatment, it'll be the only UN member state so afforded. It'll mock evaluating its human rights record legitimately.
An unnamed senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official believes it's a done deal. "If the outline is adopted, it will be a green light for renewing cooperation between Israel and the Human Rights Council," he said.
An announcement appears imminent. Israel's periodic review is scheduled for Tuesday. Netanyahu's cabinet meets on Sunday. Perhaps a decision yea or nay on attending will follow.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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