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UNHRC special session won’t benefit anyone — Israel, Palestinians or the Middle East

The only parties that will gain from the UNHRC session are haters of Israel and supporters of terrorism, as well as the totalitarian regimes around the world.

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Are you a gambler? If so, we have a sure bet for you.

Every so often, there are events that are so predictable that you can safely bet on them. One of these is scheduled to happen Thursday in Geneva.

On 27 May, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will hold a “Special Session” to address “the grave human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

So what can be foreseen today by anyone who has even the slightest familiarity with how the UNHRC works, let alone with its entrenched anti-Israeli bias?

First, without a doubt, another anti-Israel decision will be passed. And whatever decision is taken or resolution passed during the special session will constitute a travesty of justice. Given the history of UNHRC, Israel can have little to no hope of a fair decision.

Since its founding in 2006, the UNHRC has demonstrated an obsession with criticising Israel that is so extreme, it is conspicuous even in the UN-verse.

Also read: India had an ‘understanding’ of our actions during Gaza confrontation, says Israeli diplomat

The UNHRC bias

To start with, the UNHRC has two items on its permanent agenda that refer to human rights issues in specific countries. The first, Item 7, is reserved solely for discussing supposed violations by Israel. The second, Item 4, deals with all the rest of the world.

Could any reasonable person possibly believe that democratic Israel, whatever its faults, is equally deserving of scrutiny as all the authoritarian regimes around the world combined?

The upcoming special session continues this pattern of discrimination by singling out Israel for special scrutiny. It will be the 9th such session devoted to Israel, out of a total of 30 special sessions held so far. Again, given the abhorrent situations and unsurmountable challenges faced by so many around the world, is it even remotely rational to devote 30 per cent of special sessions to Israel?

Moreover, all signs indicate that the UNHRC will either ignore or obscure the more than 4,000 violations of international humanitarian law committed by Hamas since 10 May. That is the number of indiscriminate rockets which terrorist organisations in Gaza launched at civilians living in Israeli towns and cities. (Indeed, as Hamas fires from amongst its own civilian population, these attacks can be considered double war crimes.) Apparently, the human rights of Israeli civilians are beyond the scope of the UNHRC.

Also read: Every effort should be made for direct talks between Israel, Palestine — India at UNGA

The Hamas problem

Secondly, the special session will do nothing to truly help the Palestinians. Rather, it will be detrimental to both their present situation and their future prospects, both of which are compromised by Hamas’ rule over the Gaza Strip and its aspirations in the West Bank vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas is at its core a genocidal terrorist organisation, dedicated to Israel’s destruction, that has brought nothing but sorrow and suffering to the Palestinians living under its rule.

In the most recent conflict, Hamas reprised its modus operandi of attacking Israeli civilians, then exploiting the civilians of Gaza as human shields when Israel was forced to react in self-defense, closely followed by blaming Israel for civilian casualties Hamas deliberately created.

Hamas’ depraved treatment of its own population was demonstrated during the recent conflict on a smaller (yet equally telling) scale when Israel twice facilitated the passage to Gaza of convoys of trucks loaded with fuel and humanitarian aid. Both times, the tonnes of fuel and aid meant for Palestinians were targeted by mortars fired from the Gaza Strip.

By ignoring Hamas’ pattern of behavior, the UNHRC and others who deliberately turn a blind eye all but guarantee that Hamas will repeat its actions in the future to the detriment of the civilian populations of Israel and Gaza.

Also read: India friend to both Israel and Palestine, must call for immediate ceasefire: Palestine envoy

Regional stability and UNHRC

Thirdly, while much of the international community is striving to maintain calm in a region so recently shaken by Hamas’ unprovoked attack and Israel’s defensive response, the UNHRC shows little concern for regional stability. Not only is it wasting valuable time, money and resources to feed the Palestinians’ insatiable thirst for international censure to delegitimise Israel’s very existence, whatever the results, this special session will likely be interpreted by Hamas as support for its actions. Strengthening a dangerous terrorist organisation and its extremist followers throughout the Middle East will deal another blow to those seeking peace and stability.

The only parties that will gain from the UNHRC special session are haters of Israel and supporters of terrorism, as well as the totalitarian regimes around the world who are free to act with impunity while the UNHRC remains singularly focused on the only true democracy in the Middle East.

In short, the odds are overwhelming that any decision taken during the UNHRC special session will be bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinians, bad for the region and bad for human rights around the world.

Dr. Ron Malka @DrRonMalka is Ambassador of Israel to India. Views are personal.

(Edited by Anurag Chaubey)

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