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International Affairs  
The United Nations General Assembly: Key Issues for 2010 RULE Israel at the U.N.

Posted: September 20, 2010

Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations
The Iranian Threat
Israel at the U.N.
Other UN Issues

  • The Goldstone Report:   Israel is conducting serious and transparent investigations into the Gaza Operation.  It has submitted two comprehensive reports to the UN Secretary General making clear that Israel did not intentionally harm civilians or Gaza's civilian infrastructure and that any possible abuses by military personnel are being vigorously investigated and, where appropriate, Israel is pursuing indictments. In addition, Israel is strengthening aspects of the Israel Defense Forces' military doctrine. Responsible members of the international community must stop efforts by some U.N. member nations and members of the Human Rights Council to pursue further action against Israel at the U.N. and to take punitive steps against Israel through the High Contracting Parties of the Geneva Convention, or the International Court of Justice.   
  • Flotilla Incident:  Israel is conducting its own serious and transparent investigation into the Flotilla incident, and is participating in the Secretary General's committee.  Responsible members of the international community must stop further action and committees being promoted by the HRC and some UN member states to investigate this incident and/or to take action against Israel.


  • Human Rights Council Reform:  The U.N. Human Rights Council, which replaced the Commission on Human Rights in March 2006, has been no better than its hopelessly ineffective predecessor, with Israel remaining the most consistent target for unjustified vilification and demonization. As mandated by the U.N. resolution which established the HRC, the Council must review its "work and functioning" five years after it is established.  This review is beginning, with an "Open-ended intergovernmental working group on the review of the work and functioning of the Human Rights Council." This working group will meet twice for one week from October 25-29, 2010 and from January 17-21, 2011 and report about its outcomes at the 17th session (June 2011). The international community must ensure that this review is serious, and deal with the failures and deficiencies of the HRC, particularly its biased and extreme focus on Israel.  
  • Other action at the HRC:

The Israel-specific agenda item from the permanent HRC agenda must be removed.  (Item #7, titled: "Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories: Human rights violations and implications of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and other occupied Arab territories and the Right to self-determination of the Palestinian people"). Israel is the only country in the world to appear on the HRC's permanent agenda, while countries such as China and Sudan, notorious for their human rights abuses, are included as part of the general debate.  


Members of the HRC must also move expeditiously to review the mandate of the Special Rapporteur "on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967," which is inherently biased against Israel.  In its current form, the Special Rapporteur's mandate is focused solely on Israeli activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  This mandate must be revised to ensure a more balanced approach, and include the examination of Palestinian actions and policies in this region. Furthermore, efforts must be made to ensure the impartiality of the Special Rapporteur.  The current office-holder, Richard Falk, has compared Israeli treatment of Palestinians to the Nazis treatment of Jews during the Holocaust.   Professor Falk has been a quick, strident and extreme critic of Israel in a manner that is inappropriate for an ostensibly impartial U.N. official. 


  • Entrenched Anti-Israel Infrastructure in UN:  Twenty-plus redundant and incendiary anti-Israel resolutions are passed by the UN General Assembly blindly, year after year. Six of ten "emergency sessions" held by the UN General Assembly since its inception have concerned Israel – while none have been held in response to events in Rwanda, Yugoslavia, or Sudan. This annual anti-Israel ritual must end.  There is a complete "Palestinian infrastructure" within the United Nations focused specifically on an anti-Israel agenda. No other country or entity has an apparatus exclusively dedicated to the promotion of its causes.  The most egregious is Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.  These committees not only waste stretched UN resources (their annual budget is $2.5 million), but propagate wildly biased programs and information about the Palestinian-Israel conflict that ignore positive progress in the region, and contradict the UN Secretary General and Security Council positions on Israel.  Malta, Cyprus, Ukraine and Bulgaria are still members of the Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Romania and Hungary formally left the committee.  This apparatus must be defunded and disbanded.
  • Israel must be granted to full rights as a member state in the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in Geneva.  Israel, unlike other member nations, is prevented from fully participating in the UN system since it is barred by Arab countries from joining the Asian Regional Group, and only has partial status in the WEOG group.  There is no justification for the inability of Israel to be elected to UN-Geneva based programs.

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Editor's Note: At the opening of the U.N. General Assembly (GA) in September 2010, ADL will meet with key leaders and foreign ministers to discuss issues such as Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Iran's march to nuclear weapons capability, the treatment of Israel at the U.N., anti-Semitism, and other crucial issues of concern.  This report looks at some of the key issues the U.N. will be taking up in 2010-2011.

More information on the GA is available on the League's U.N. Perspectives & Analysis Page.

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