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Israel ‘boycotts’ UN rights council session on Gaza war

Israel ‘boycotts’ UN rights council session on Gaza war
Israel provided no immediate explanation for not being present at the session dedicated overwhelmingly to discussion of its policies and alleged abuses, but a source close to the council said its absence clearly amounted to a boycott. “We won’t comment on that,” a spokeswoman with the Israeli mission in Geneva told AFP.

The United States was also absent from Monday’s discussions. Asked for an explanation, a spokesman said only that the US ambassador to the council Keith Harper was in Washington.

Monday’s session had originally been scheduled to discuss a probe on the 50-day war in Gaza last year, but the investigators obtained a delay after the head of the team quit under Israeli pressure. “The process cannot be rushed,” former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis, who has taken over as head of the team, told the council.

Canadian international law expert William Schabas resigned as chair of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict last month after Israel complained he could not be impartial because he had prepared a legal opinion for the Palestine Liberation Organisation in October 2012.

Schabas strongly denied that he was beholden to the PLO but said he was reluctantly stepping down to avoid the inquiry into the July-August conflict commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council being compromised in any away.

Israel was not satisfied, calling for the entire inquiry to be shelved, insisting the commission and the Human Rights Council which created it are inherently biased against the Jewish state.

The Jewish state is the only country in the world with a special agenda item dedicated to it, meaning its rights record is discussed at every session of the UN’s top rights body. 
Agencies

Agencies

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