Israel enforces severe and discriminatory restrictions on Palestinians’ human rights, and it builds and supports unlawful settlements in the occupied West Bank. Its security forces appear to use excessive force against Palestinian demonstrators and suspected attackers, raising the specter of extra-judicial killings. It has renewed the practice of punitive home demolitions. The Palestinian Authority has arrested students and activists allegedly for their political affiliation or because they expressed criticism. Hamas security forces also engage in torture and ill-treatment of people, including journalists. Israel’s closure of Gaza, supported by Egypt, amounts to collective punishment and has impeded reconstruction.
Opposition to UN Human Rights Council Agenda Item Seven
The United States strongly and unequivocally opposes the existence of the UN Human Rights Council’s Agenda Item Seven: “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.” Today’s actions in the Council are yet another reminder of that body’s long-standing bias against Israel. No other nation has an entire agenda item dedicated to it at the Council. The continued existence of this agenda item is among the largest threats to the credibility of the Council.
As an expression of our deeply-held conviction that this bias must be addressed in order for the Council to realize its legitimate purpose, the United States decided not to attend the Council’s Item Seven General Debate session. It does not serve the interests of the Council to single out one country in an unbalanced matter. Later this week, the United States will vote against every resolution put forth under this agenda item and is encouraging other countries to do the same.
The U.S. is dedicated to the pursuit of respect for international human rights by all countries in the world and we call on all UN member states and international partners who are committed to human rights to work with us to pursue much needed reforms in the UN Human Rights Council.