U.S. boycotts United Nations human rights council debate on Israel and Palestinians
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 20, 2017,
Mar 20, 2017, 20:20
The State Department says the United States is boycotting a session at the U.N. Human Rights Council that focuses on Palestine and other Arab occupied territories, saying it is biased against Israel.
The Trump administration will not attend a meeting of the United Nation's Human Rights Council as the group prepares to push through at least five anti-Israel resolutions, The Washington Free Beacon is reporting. Israel is the only country targeted with a dedicated rights council agenda item.
Trump administration officials told the Free Beacon that the increased pressure on the U.N.is part of an organized effort by U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who hopes to reform the worldwide organization and eliminate its perceived anti-Israel bias.
"Today's actions in the council are yet another reminder of that body's longstanding bias against Israel", he said. It is said to include several anti-Israel declarations that the Trump administration fiercely objects to.
And it noted, the administration is pressing other counties to criticize the council, as well.
The U.S.'s boycott follows the resignation of a senior United Nations official who stepped down after refusing to withdraw a report that labeled Israel's treatment of Palestinians as "apartheid".
The Trump administration told the Free Beacon it is fully committed to voting against "every resolution" targeting Israel and that it will encourage allies to do the same. "We've wasted enough time and money on it".
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has threatened to withdraw entirely from the council unless it makes reforms.
"The U.N. Human Rights Council has turned harming Israel into its raison d'etre", he said.
The latest move is meant to bolster this policy and send a message that the UNHRC's bias against Israel must cease before the USA considers the group legitimate.
Past administrations also have been at odds with the council because they consider it anti-Israel. Both Haley and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have called for reform of the permanent agenda item as a compromise step before the US completes its consideration of whether or not to withdraw from the council altogether.