Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday slammed a UN rights body for a string of resolutions condemning the Jewish state despite a wave of rights abuses elsewhere in the region.
“At the end of last week, the UN Human Rights Council condemned Israel five times, 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,” he told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting.
“In many countries the free media are closed down and the UN Human Rights Council decided to condemn Israel,” he added. “It’s absurd. This procession of hypocrisy goes on and we shall continue to denounce and expose it.”
The 47-member UN body on Friday passed four resolutions critical of Israel’s conduct toward the Palestinians and one on its occupation of the Golan Heights.
The motions on the Palestinians were carried by 46 votes to one, with only the United States against, while the Golan resolution garnered 13 abstentions and a US “no” vote.
Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki welcomed the council votes.
“The resolutions reaffirm the primacy of human rights of the Palestinian people and the obligations of all States to promote and protect human rights,” he said in a statement on Friday.
“This vote confirms the world’s clear condemnation of the systematic human rights violations committed by Israel, the occupying power, against the Palestinian people and their fundamental rights,” he added.
In December, the UNHRC invited Israel to join its Western European countries group and Israel accepted.
UN members are divided into five regional groups that try to craft common policy positions and elect countries and individuals to UN bodies.
Joining a group does not guarantee Israel will become a council member, but nonetheless gives it more sway than it has out in the cold.
Israel’s representative was not present at Friday’s session because of a global strike by foreign ministry staff, the Jerusalem Post said on Sunday.
Although geographically the Jewish state is in Asia, hostile Arab and Muslim states have blocked it from joining the Asian group.
In January 2012, Israel became the first country to refuse to attend a periodic review of its human rights record, and two months later it cut all ties with UNHRC after the Geneva-based council said it would probe how settlements may be infringing on Palestinian rights.
Israel has accused the UNHRC of routinely singling it out at its annual meetings, as well as passing a number of anti-Israel resolutions.