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Britain condemns Israel bias at UN rights council

The 47-member UN Human Rights Council opened its main annual session in Geneva with eyes fixed on the US seat, occupied for the first time by an envoy from President Donald Trump's administration
Since its founded in 2006, UNHRC has condemned Israel 78 times, more than all countries in world combined

Britain on Monday urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to reform its treatment of Israel, joining the United States in demanding an end to the body's alleged bias against the Jewish State.

Addressing the opening of the 38th council session, British foreign secretary Boris Johnson criticized the council's controversial Agenda Item 7, a permanent fixture on the schedule exclusively devoted to discussing rights abuses in the Palestinian Territories.

"We share the view that the dedicated Agenda Item 7 focused solely on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace, and unless things change we shall vote next year against all resolutions introduced under Item 7," Johnson said.

Israel is the only country with a dedicated council item.

Washington, some European countries and Australia have sided with Israel in condemning Item 7 as prejudiced, noting that countries with arguably worse rights records in recent years, like Syria are spared such intense scrutiny.

Haim Zach (GPO)

While previous US administrations have criticized Item 7, President Donald Trump's government has raised the prospect of quitting the council unless it is scrapped.

Last week, Reuters citing a source speaking on a condition of anonymity, reported that a US withdrawal appeared to be "imminent." Diplomatic sources said it was not a matter of if, but when.

US Ambassador the UN Nikki Haley has slammed the council for being "grossly biased against Israel" noting that it had adopted only three resolutions separately targeting North Korea, Iran and Syria.

Since the UNHRC was founded in 2006, the council has condemned Israel 78 times, more than all of the other countries in the world combined. In the first year, the council’s first 11 resolutions targeting a specific nation were aimed at Israel.

Johnson noted however, that the council had an important role to play in "the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under the right agenda item."

Each council session includes an agenda item on so-called country specific situations, known as Agenda Item 4, where debates on the crises in Syria, Burundi and others typically take place.



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