US does not defend Israel at biased UN session

For the first time since Obama took office in 2009, the US did not defend Israel at a UN Human Rights Council debate. Israel says the decision was  jointly coordinated.

UN Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories Wibisono pauses before  statement to Human Rights Council in Geneva

UN Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories Makarim Wibisono at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. (Photos: Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

The US traditionally finds it important to defend Israel at the UN, but on Monday, in the wake of US President Obama’s statement that he would reassess Washington’s policy towards Israel, the US did not participate in the annual debate in the Human Rights Council on alleged violations committed in the Palestinian territories.

The step is unprecedented at the 47-member state forum, where Washington has unfailingly worked to defend Israel since Obama became president in 2009.

Special investigator Makarim Wibisono of Indonesia presented a report on Monday to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) claiming that Israel intentionally targeted civilian homes during Operation Protective Edge. The report was introduced during the discussion on Israel that is a mandated part of every UNHRC session. Israel is the only country that has its own spot on the UNHRC’s agenda.

Obama’s vow to reevaluate the US-Israel relationship was made following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory in last week’s national elections. The American president had been involved in an unsucccessful campaign from abroad working to unseat the Israeli leader.

“The U.S. delegation will not be speaking about Palestine today,” a U.S. spokesman in Geneva told Reuters in response to a query as the debate began.

Several reports indicate, however, that an agreement not to address the debate was made in October 2013. In Israel, the Foreign Ministry, denying any major rift between the two countries, said that the annual debate “negatively singles out Israel and Israel every year asks its friends on the council not to express themselves.”

The European Union reiterated “the urgency of renewed, structured and substantial efforts towards peace.”

By World Israel News and Reuters