UN RIGHTS BODY CENSURES ISRAEL

PALESTINE - ISRAEL, 26 Mar 2010

AlJazeera

The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed three resolutions condemning Israel over its policies in occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories.

However, the United States voted against them all.

Another resolution, calling for a fund to compensate Palestinians who suffered losses during Israel’s offensive in Gaza 14 months ago, is expected to be passed on Thursday.

One resolution on "grave human rights violations" by Israeli forces in the Palestinian territories – which was passed by 31 votes to nine, with seven abstentions in the 47-member Council – demanded that Israel end its occupation of Palestinian land, occupied since 1967.

US opposition

It also demanded that Israel stop what it called targeting of Palestinian civilians and systematic destruction of their cultural heritage, halt all military operations across Palestinian land and lift its blockade of Gaza.

The US and the European Union, whose seven members on the Council vote separately but generally in unison, opposed the resolution, with both saying it was unbalanced.

Another resolution called on Israel to stop building all settlements in the occupied territories.

The third condemned Israel for what it called systematic violation of the rights of the people of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. The US voted no, while 15 countries, including EU members, abstained.

The US, which itself is in a diplomatic row with Israel over settlements which the government of Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is vowing to pursue, told the Council that the three resolutions would do nothing to help peace.

It said the UN body was too often being used as a platform to single out Israel for condemnation while rights violations by other countries were ignored.

The Council is effectively dominated by a developing country bloc in which the Organisation of the Islamic Conference has a strong influence and which is routinely supported by China, Russia and Cuba.

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