Israel cuts contact with UN rights council to protest probe (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Barak Ravid 03/27/12)
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Israel decided on Monday to sever all contact with the UN Human
Rights Council and UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, in
response to the council´s announcement last week of its plan to
appoint an international committee to investigate the West Bank
But as of Monday night the Foreign Ministry had not given Israel´s
envoy to the UN institutions in Geneva, Aharon Leshno-Yaar, specific
instructions as to what this meant. A source in the ministry said
diplomats in both Jerusalem and Geneva were embarrassed by their
inability to answer questions about the decision from reporters and
One reason for the confusion is that Israel is not even a member of
the Human Rights Council. Moreover, the council´s decisions are made
by its member nations, not by its secretariat or the human right
commissioner, which calls into questions the jab at Pillay.
A senior ministry source said that not all of the high-ranking
ministry officials who attended Monday´s meeting on the issue
supported the severance of contact with Pillay or the council´s
secretariat, but Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman did and he
carried the day.
According to the senior source the decision meant "we will not allow
visits from HRC members to Israel, and our ambassador has been
instructed not to even answer phone calls from them.
"The Human Rights Council secretariat and the commissioner, Navi
Pillay, led the move to establish the investigative committee on
settlements, which is why we will not work with them anymore or
appear before the council."
Meanwhile, the Austrian and Belgian ambassadors to Israel were
summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Monday and reprimanded. Both
countries were the only EU member states that voted at last week´s
Human Rights Council meeting in favor of establishing the
The two arrived separately on Monday and met with Deputy Director-
General for Europe Rafi Shotz, who gave each of them an official
protest from Israel over their countries´ votes. Shotz told the
envoys that Israel was particularly disappointed because the rest of
the EU countries on the council had abstained.
"When you voted, you knew perfectly well what the result would be and
how one-sided the decision was," Shotz reportedly told the two
ambassadors. "You assisted the politicization of the Human Rights
Council and enabled a decision that will make only worsen relations
between Israel and the Palestinians."
Similarly, Israel´s ambassadors in Switzerland and Norway, which are
not EU members, were asked to convey Israel´s protest to those
countries´ foreign ministries, since both countries also supported
the investigative committee.
The current president of the Human Rights Council, Uruguay´s Laura
Dupuy Lasserre, called Israel´s decision to cut ties "very
unfortunate." (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 03/27/12)
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