Palestine’s Ambassador to the United Nations has condemned John Kerry’s criticism of the UN Council for Human Rights. Speaking to Anadolu, Ibrahim Khreisheh said that the US Secretary of State’s comments were flawed and frustrating.
“John Kerry’s position contradicts his speech about the importance of the Council’s role in detecting human rights violations and lifting injustice,” insisted Khreisheh. “Why is it, therefore, that when the UNHCR criticises Israel, Kerry criticises the UNHCR and questions its performance and role?”
The UN body has been monitoring Israeli violations against Palestinians as an occupying power with obligations and responsibilities. “In this,” said Khreisheh, “the council has been fulfilling its mandated role.” It is significant, he suggested, that Kerry’s statement coincides with the Israeli prime minister’s controversial visit to Washington.
“Like all members of the US administration,” the Palestinian envoy pointed out, “Kerry understands that Israel is an occupying power, but they are under pressure from the pro-Israel lobby, which undermines the administration’s credibility and efforts to spread democracy and preserve human rights in the world.”
The US secretary of state had decried UNHRC criticism of Israel, saying that the council was obsessed with it. “No one in this room can deny that there is an unbalanced focus on one democratic country,” he claimed. “The UNHRC’s obsession with Israel actually risks undermining the credibility of the entire organisation.”
Israel is the only country to have been singled out by the council in a special session to discuss its violations against the Palestinian people. The US, Australia, Canada and Britain – all well-known friends of Israel – have been trying to obtain a resolution to remove this item from the UNHCR agenda.