Sent to the Info Desk at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (InfoDesk@ohchr.org):
As you may know, Ambassador Eviatar Manor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN in Geneva said at the end of day two of the 32nd session – my emphasis:
“This Council has lost its bearings; This Council needs a moral compass; This Council has an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder regarding Israel; This Council has not, does not and will not contribute to peace in our region,” the Israeli envoy charged. “Think about it, and call me if you change your minds,” Manor concluded, leaving his phone number for the council.”
(The quotes are from the people who alerted me. The full statement is here: http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=70819).
Mr Manor’s focus was on the Council’s bizarre array of resolutions and shocking inattention to so many terrible problems in the world outside of the Israel-Palestine conflict. He didn’t specifically mention permanent Agenda Item 7, which is reserved for Israeli human rights violations in the Palestinian territories. All other violations in the whole world are handled in Agenda Item 4, and treating Israel on equal footing with everyone else could be the single most important thing the Council could do to start redressing the imbalances.
There have been many attempts to do this (my little contribution in March 2016 towards the end of the 31st session is here). But, alas, it looks as if Item 7 is included in the 32nd session (13 June – 1 July 2016) on Monday 27 June – there is no title on the order of the day, but there is no reason to assume that the content of Item 7 has changed.
Now maybe you think I’m a bit off my rocker for writing to you … But please listen.
UN bodies are deeply affected by political conflicts in which the loudest voices can be very destructive. There is also quite a lot of “trading” going on. Some diplomats say that if they were to say “no” to Item 7, “the Palestinian door would be closed to us”. The same “strategy” has also been used in connection with outrageous resolutions taken by UNESCO during the past year. To me this strategy reflects ignorance, fear-based appeasement, moral turpitude, stupidity, mendacity, evil intentions – or some kind of a combination.
Regardless of the particular causes, trying to bribe the Palestinian leadership by continually bashing Israel is not helping anyone, least of all the Palestinian people. So I would like to offer my support to those who think that Agenda Item 7 is a travesty by suggesting some small actions – I hope you will share these ideas:
1. The US boycotts Agenda Item 7 and President Obama has at one point wanted to get it removed (March 2015: http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Foreign-Ministry-denies-US-absence-at-UNHRC-debate-on-Israel-sign-of-tensions-with-Obama-394801)… Encourage him to get the job done!
2. Find out if your own country participates in Agenda Item 7.
- If your country participates in it, explain to the most relevant decision makers you can find why it should not. Encourage them to stop participating – or even better, to get Item 7 removed.
- If your country already boycotts Item 7, praise the most relevant decisions makers you can find – publicly, if possible. And encourage them to get it removed from the agenda.