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31 Mar, 2014 10:48

Israel’s Netanyahu lashes back at UN over ‘march of hypocrisy’

Israel’s Netanyahu lashes back at UN over ‘march of hypocrisy’

The Israeli PM harshly criticized the UN Human Rights Council for condemning Israel in five resolutions lately. Tel Aviv is under heavy pressure of the international community trying to prevent the collapse of the peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Speaking at a regular weekly meeting of lawmakers and ministers, members of Likud party, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the global human rights watchdog of prejudice against the state of Israel.

"Over the weekend the UN Human Rights Council condemned Israel five times, this at a time when the slaughter in Syria is continuing, innocent people are being hung in the Middle East and human rights are being eroded,” Netanyahu declared, adding that at the same period of time the UN censured Iran and Syria just once.

“In many countries free media are being shut down and the UN Human Rights Council decides to condemn Israel for closing off a balcony. This is absurd. This march of hypocrisy is continuing and we will continue to condemn it and expose it,” Israeli PM promised to his cabinet.

Finalizing its 25th session on Friday, the 47-member UNHRC almost unanimously (46-1) voted on four resolutions condemning violations of human rights of Palestinians in Israel. The fifth resolution condemning Israel was issued in regard of the human rights abuses of Syrian nationals of Israel who live in the Golan Heights, annexed by Israel in 1981. The voting on this resolution resulted in 33 to 1, with 13 abstentions.

All in all, the UNHRC adopted 42 resolutions on various issues, of them only 10 censured a specific country, which means that half of them were leveled against Israel.

The only country that sided with Israel, voting against all of the five resolutions was the US, noted an Israeli official quoted by the Jerusalem Post.

“It’s a pity that some Western democracies choose to jump on the automatic anti-Israel bandwagon at the UNHRC,” an Israeli official said, contradistinguishing their position to the official stance of the United States.

“They showed moral leadership,” said the Israeli official, resenting the fact that 33 countries approved resolution condemning Israeli actions on the Golan Heights as “almost a bad joke,” particularly upsetting because Israeli hospitals are treating scores of victims of the Syrian civil war.

At the same time Israeli PM maintained that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are eliminating any “infiltrators” from the Syrian territory.

“Over the weekend we experienced an incident on the Golan Heights. The IDF foiled an attempt to infiltrate the border and hit those who approached the fence. We will continue to respond to any attempt to attack us and to the best of our ability, as initiated policy, we will foil these attacks before they occur. This is the essence of our ongoing policy; it works and is achieving results,” The Jewish Press quoted Netanyahu as saying.

The state of Israel does not hesitate to conduct retaliatory and pre-emptive strikes against Syrian military deep inside the Syrian territory, so Israel’s involvement in the Syrian crisis is rather a considerable one.

Fierce attempts to save peace process

The US administration is conducting extensive consultations with Israeli and Palestinian officials, such as Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads the Israeli negotiating team, and with Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator, trying to prevent the much advertised peace process from blowing up, reported Haaretz.

As both the US and Israel await an answer from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the new proposals offered last weekend, PM Netanyahu described the current situation as “on the verge of a crisis.”

Senior officials of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah movement are currently holding a series of meetings that will last for several days to make a decision on the future of the peace process and whether the PA is going to seek further international recognition through the UN institutions.

While peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians remain in stalemate, Israeli politicians and business leaders have to take into consideration a number of international boycotts that threaten to damage the economy of the Jewish state.

Netanyahu congratulated the ministers with the latest news that Israel has been granted an A+ credit rating, “a sign that the Israeli economy is in good shape,” PM acknowledged, mentioning that the current unemployment rate in the country is among the lowest in many years.

“Relative to other Western economies, and in the world in general, the Israeli economy is in good condition, and we will work so that it will be even better,” said Netanyahu.

He also addressed the issue of releasing additional Palestinian prisoners.

Earlier Jerusalem had offered to free additional 400 Palestinians prisoners serving long terms in exchange for Palestinian authority’s approval to continue peace talks with Israel beyond the announced April 29 deadline.

“There won’t be any deal without receiving something of clear value [in return],” the prime minister declared, specifying that the prisoner issue is set to be resolved within a few days, when it “will be closed or it will blow up,” Netanyahu told the lawmakers, many of whom strictly oppose the pardon deal.

In late December 2013, Israel agreed to pardon and release 104 Palestinians imprisoned before the 1993 Oslo peace accords. The move was called to stimulate the peace talks re-launched last July. Palestinians also agreed to temporarily freeze seeking international recognition of the Palestinian Autonomy.

On Saturday, Israel put on hold the release of the last batch of 26 Palestinian inmates, demanding from Ramallah an extension of peace talks period due to expire by the end of April. Up to date, Israel has pardoned 78 Palestinians, releasing them in three batches.