Item seven is the only permanent agenda item on the UNHRC’s roster. Israel’s representative in Geneva was reportedly not present for the discussion.
The Council heard the introduction to a new report from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that addressed the human rights situation specifically in the West Bank. The report touched on reports of settler violence, forced evictions, and excessive use of force by Israeli security forces.
Representatives for Palestine said that the absence of Israel from the meeting “shows the arrogance of Israel.”
“Israel continued its policies of deliberate violations of United Nations resolutions and international law, which were fully applicable in the occupied Palestinian territory,” said Ibrahim Khraishi, the ambassador of the ‘State of Palestine’ in Geneva. “The failure of the international community to ensure that Israel respected its international obligations jeopardized the credibility of international law.” He also called for the blockade of Gaza to be lifted.
Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui, Syria’s ambassador in Geneva, said “continued culture of impunity in Israel had been attested to in many international commissions, and amounted to the recognition of war crimes… The treatment of prisoners, the abuse of the rights of those living in the Golan, and the destruction of the wealth of the occupied lands should all be ended.” Hamoui called for another boycott of Israeli products until “the end of the occupation.”
Other speakers at the debate, including representatives from Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, addressed the “illegal conduct” of Israel in both Gaza and the West Bank, and most called for a halt to Israeli settlement building. Iran’s ambassador Mohsen Naziri Asl, speaking on behalf of the Non- Aligned Movement, said in his remarks that “condemned the persistent noncooperation of Israel and its blatant disregard of its international obligations.” He also called for an end to settlement activity.