Palestinians ask for U.N. human rights investigation (REUTERS) Reporting by Tom Miles; Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; Editing/Andrew Osborn GENEVA 03/19/12 3:36pm ED)
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(Reuters) - The Palestinian Authority has asked the United Nations
Human Rights Council to conduct a formal inquiry into the impact of
Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, Palestinian Foreign
Minister Riad al-Maliki said on Monday.
The probe should look
into "attempts to confiscate land and settler
violence along with the impact of settlement expansion on Palestinian
life and basic human rights," he said, adding that the proposal for
an inquiry was formally tabled on Friday.
If it goes ahead, the
investigation would be similar in format to
recent U.N. inquiries into Syria and Libya, and would involve three
or four experts who would report back to the U.N. human rights body
Unlike the U.N. Security Council, the Human Rights
by majority vote, meaning the United States and other big powers
could not veto the resolution. Israel could still refuse to allow
investigators to enter the occupied territories however.
this is the case, we will go back to the Human Rights Council to
pass new resolutions that condemn the Israeli policy and call for
just policies which respect Palestinian rights and offer a clear
condemnation of Israel on this issue," Maliki said.
we coordinate our steps: first, we will wait for the
resolution to pass; second, for the committee to be formed; third,
for the U.N. to demand Israel allow the committee to
Asked about the fact finding mission, Yigal Palmor, a
the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said: "This is another move by the
Palestinians to dodge negotiations and choose a strategy of
confrontation. We hope that the countries who aspire to end the
conflict through a peace agreement will reject this
The international community says the settlements are
GOLAN HEIGHTS TENSIONS
Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe did not mention the
Palestinian request for an inquiry when she addressed the U.N. forum
in Geneva on Monday. But she did say that the council was biased and
had a disproportionate focus on Israel, adding it should hold all
countries to the same standards.
The debate also gave an
opportunity for the Syrian delegate to
complain about Israel´s behavior in Syria´s Israeli-occupied Golan
But Donahoe said it was hypocritical to hold a debate
that included a
resolution on human rights in the Golan Heights, saying it
was "motivated by the Syrian regime at a time when it is murdering
its own citizens".
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi
Pillay catalogued abuses
by both sides, recommending a series of "small steps" that each
country could take to improve human rights now, without waiting for
advances in the Middle East Peace Process or any other
"Doing so will not only improve the lives of
civilians; it will
demonstrate the leaders´ commitment to the goal of living side by
side in peace and security," she said. (© Thomson Reuters 2012.
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