The government of Israel has decided to cut ties with the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) a week after the council declared its intention to open an investigation into Israeli settlements across the occupied West Bank. The announcement was made by a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, who told Agency France Presse, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken a decision to cut working relations with the UN body.”
The spokesman added, “This means that the fact-finding team, which the UNHRC intends to send to the West Bank, will be denied entry to the [occupied Palestinian] territories and Israel.” He confirmed that Israel will continue to cooperate with other United Nations agencies.
The UNHRC condemned Israel’s intention to build new housing units for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, saying that this would undermine the peace process and pose a threat to the two-state solution as well as the establishment of an independent, contiguous Palestinian state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the UNHRC “hypocritical” and said that the council, “the majority of which is hostile to Israel”, should be “ashamed” of itself.