Israel Defends Human Rights Record

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israel defended its human rights record at the the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, after an 18-month boycott of the organization which has shown bias against Israel.

In testimony at the conference on Tuesday, Eviatar Manor, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, cited the imminent release of a second group of Palestinian terrorist prisoners to facilitate peace talks as proof of Israel’s sincerity in seeking peace.

“All of them have blood on their hands; all of them have murdered Israelis,” Manor told diplomats. “Their release, I believe, illustrates Israel’s determination to reach an agreement with our Palestinian neighbors that will, once and for all, end the conflict.”

Many of the allegations  against Israel, though by no means all, pertain to the Palestinian population.

During the current Universal Periodic Review process that all 193 U.N. member states must undergo, Israel will be expected to address questions on its overall record, including issues affecting treatment of the Bedouin in the Negev and the Women of the Wall, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Israel had been scheduled for a UPR hearing in January, but that was postponed after a decision in March of 2012 to sever relations with the UNHRC over unfair treatment, singling out Israel for special scrutiny and censure, while ignoring blatant rights abuses in many other countries.

Under threat of diplomatic reprisal, Israel on Sunday agreed to come to the UPR, but has not yet fully restored ties. It awaits a UNHRC commitment to ensure more equitable treatment, such as abolishing Agenda Item 7, under which Israel is debated at every UNHRC session.