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Western allies work to fortify Israel's position in UN Human Rights Council

February 10, 2014 at 12:49 pm

In today’s edition, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed that six Western countries are attempting to fortify Israel’s position within the UN Human Rights Council, in order to prevent its condemnation.

The newspaper reported that it had received a copy of a letter sent by the ambassadors of six Western countries including Britain, Australia, Canada, Germany, France and the US, addressed to the ambassador of Spain, owing to his position as chairman of the Western nations’ group within the council. The letter told the ambassador: “It is time to bring Israel into the group.”

The letter stated that Israel has been demanding for many years to join the group in Geneva. The six countries all stressed their full support for Israel to join the group, calling for this issue to be on the agenda of the next meeting for the group, and for the meeting to be held as soon as possible.

Haaretz indicated that once Israel has officially joined the group, it would become more difficult to single it out and take any decision to condemn it. It would also enable Israel to promote its own diplomatic initiatives before the council.

However Haaretz also reported that two other Western countries, Iceland and Liechtenstein, have revealed their reluctance to allow Israel access to the group, while two states, Ireland and Turkey, neither opposed nor accepted this membership.

It also noted that in recent months, negotiations between Israel and the group have taken place to debate whether or not Israel should cooperate with the council. Pressure has been exerted by the US, Australia, Germany and Britain to restore the collaboration between Israel and the council, and to allow Israel to attend hearings in the council. In exchange, these countries have pledged to work to restrict the use of Chapter VII in the UN Security Council in regards to issues of human rights within Israel and the West Bank.

These countries also pledged to Israel that they would work to include it in the Western nation’s group in the council. Since Israel does not currently belong to any of the regional groups, this has led to its isolation, making it difficult for Israel to gain support for its stance within the council.