The United Kingdom, along with 21 other nations, have signed a U.S.-led statement condemning the UN Human Rights Council’s controversial Commission of Inquiry into Israel and called for the end to the “disproportionate scrutiny” against the country. Last week, in its own statement, the UK condemned the “disproportionate focus on Israel” and it’s “open-ended nature” and “vaguely defined mandate”.
The Commission was originally formed in the wake of the 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas last year, however, the it is unique compared to other commissions of inquiry as its mandate has no defined end date. Additionally, its mandate is so broad it covers any allegation of human-rights abuses dating all the way back to Israel’s foundation in 1948. The commission has an annual budget of $5 million and is chaired by Navi Pillay, who reports indicate has documented history of disproportionately lobbying for sanctions against Israel. The chair has reportedly recently warned other countries for having relationships with Israel and even blamed the country for any human rights abuses committed by Palestinians.
Following the release of the commission’s first report, Pillay stated the conflict was “asymmetrical” and warned other countries that their diplomatic and military partnerships with Israel could be breaking international law. According to reports, Pillay also said Israel was responsible for any human rights abuses conducted by the Palestinians, stating that Israel’s actions have “emboldened the Palestinian duty bearer to commit human rights abuses among their own people”.
The statement criticising the commission was initiated by the United States and includes the signatures of: Austria, Bulgaria, Canada Cameroon, Colombia, Croatia, Swaziland, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, North Macedonia, Holland, Palau, Togo, and the United Kingdom. The document, which was delivered by the US Ambassador to the United Nations, reads: “We believe the nature of the COI established last May is further demonstration of the disproportionate attention given to Israel that has carried over from the founding of the council and must be stopped”.
The Israeli government has already refused to participate with the commission’s work and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid publicly expressed his gratitude to the countries who signed the statement and said: “Today is a day of change at the Human Rights Council. A day on which morality is overcoming hypocrisy. Enough with the bias. Enough with the obsession with Israel”.