Israel ends contact with UN Human Rights Council

Posted on March 26, 2012

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Israel has cut working relations with the UN Human Rights Council, officials say, after it decided to investigate Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The foreign ministry has reportedly told its envoy in Geneva not to co-operate with the council or with UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay.

It will also prevent a UN team entering Israel to assess the effects of settlements on Palestinian rights.

Last week, Israel said the decision to establish the probe was “surrealistic”.

Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on a two-state solution stalled in late 2010 after a dispute over settlement construction.

About 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

‘Superfluous and extravagant’

On Thursday, the Human Rights Council voted by 36 to one, with 10 abstentions, to send an independent international fact-finding mission to look into the issue.

The council said the mission would “investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”.

BBC

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