Thursday, November 28, 2013

  • Thursday, November 28, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Arutz-7:

Israel to Join United Nations Human Rights Council

Israel has been accepted to join the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Maariv reported Thursday. The international body infamous for condemning the Jewish state will now add it to the list of 9 Western states.

The move is a complete about-face for the UNHRC, which in its 5-year history has condemned Israel over 46 times - more than any other nation in the world.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his national security advisor Yaakov Amidror have set two requirements as preconditions for the resumption of cooperation with the Council.

The first is that European Union states agree to boycott the council meetings which are held under the anti-Israel Agenda Item 7 mandate, alongside the U.S., Canada and Australia.

Agenda Item 7 states that the UNHRC must discuss Israel's alleged human rights violations each and every time the council convenes, regardless on what is occuring in other countries in the Middle East or around the world.

The EU has agreed to boycott the meetings at the next 2 UNHRC conventions. In the future, it could only participate in Agenda Item 7 discussions if there is a complete consensus over the issues at stake among every EU member state.

Maariv notes that is a near-impossibility. As such, those meetings have been effectively stripped of their Western representation - removing their efficacy as springboards for anti-Israel activity by Arab states.

The second condition is that Israel be accepted as part of the Western bloc in the UNHRC. Until now, Israel has not been assigned to any specific category, preventing it from taking effective action and singling it out even more. If not, Netanyahu has threatened to withdraw Israeli involvement from the UNHRC permanently.

Western member states have reportedly declared that they are making an attempt to quell differences among them and embrace Israel as a member state.

Maariv's analysts attribute the sudden change to increased tensions over nuclear weapons in Iran and North Korea as well as the upcoming Syria talks in Geneva later this year.

The UNHRC has expressed concern that a permanent Israeli withdrawal will not only encourage these countries to withdraw themselves as well - taking them off the international radar - but also reduce the relevancy of the Council in general as a result.

Israel will now be able to vote on UNHRC issues, including the selection of other member states, and defend itself against the claims brought against it. Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Aharon ("Roni") Leshno-Yaar will be sent to renew Israel's presence on the Council, and is expected to join by the end of 2013.
It appears that Arutz-7 misunderstood what happened. (It further appears that Palestine News Network reads Arutz-7, as it reports this as well.)

The UNHRC has 47 members, each elected to three year terms.

The elections for 2014 already occurred on November 12:

The General Assembly today elected 14 States to serve on the Human Rights Council, the United Nations body responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.

Those elected were Algeria, China, Cuba, France, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom and Viet Nam. All would serve three-year terms beginning on 1 January 2014.

The 14 outgoing members were Angola, Ecuador, Guatemala, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and Uganda. In accordance with Assembly resolution 60/251, those Member States were eligible for immediate re-election except those who had served two consecutive terms, namely, Angola and Qatar.

The 14 members were elected according to the following pattern: four seats for African States, four seats for Asia-Pacific States, two seats for Eastern European States, two seats for Latin American and Caribbean States, and two seats for Western European and other States.
So what happened yesterday?

As the Arutz-7 article noted, Israel was not a member of any regional group according to UNHRC groupings. Neyanyahu insisted to become a member of the "Western European and Others" group in order to agree to continue to cooperate with the UNHRC. Maariv reports correctly that the "Western European and Others" group decided (over the objections of Iceland, Ireland and Turkey) to allow Israel to join that group because of Israel's threats to permanently withdraw from cooperating with the UNHRC otherwise.

Israel is now a little less disenfranchised at the UNHRC. It is not a member.

Now that Israel belongs to a regional group, it is eligible to become a member of the actual UNHRC. It is unclear that even the Western Europeans, who routinely vote against Israel in UN resolutions, would vote to give Israel a rotating membership any time soon.



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