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UK condemns UN Human rights Council

UK diplomats have criticised the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for five resolutions condemning Israel for its actions in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights on Friday.

A statement released by the UK Mission to the United Nations criticised “the disproportionate number of resolutions against Israel and the existence of a dedicated agenda item that singles out Israel and does little to advance dialogue, stability or mutual understanding”. The UNHRC approved five resolutions against Israel, two against Syria and one concerning Iran.

The UK voted against a resolution titled “Human rights in the Occupied Syrian Golan,” along with 13 others, and against a second one titled “Ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,” along with Togo, Australia and the USA. The UK also abstained from a vote on settlement building in the West Bank.

The UK also voted yes on a resolution concerning the right to Palestinian self-determination, to which only the US and Australia voted against, and on human rights in the West Bank, which the US, Australia and Togo.

In response to the disproportionate number of resolutions criticising Israel, the UK informed the UNHRC in 2017 that unless this changed the UK would adopt a policy of blanket voting against all resolutions concerning Israel. The UK’s statement noted that “we have seen very little change” and “therefore, we will again vote against the Syrian Golan resolution and, for the first time, the Accountability resolution”. “Unless things change, we will move to vote against all resolutions,” the statement warned.

Israel also reacted harshly to the resolutions, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau calling the UNHRC a “circus of the absurd” that was “detached from reality”.

Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid called for Israel “to pull out of the UN terrorists’ rights council, together with the funding”.

The UNHRC includes 47 member states, including China, Cuba, Egypt, Qatar, Pakistan, Venezuela, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Under a standing agenda item, the UNHRC must discuss Israeli human rights violations against the Palestinians once a year.