On Tuesday the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, announced the U.S.’s decision to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), labelling the global body as a “cesspool of political bias”. The U.S. decision comes a few days after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson Johnson criticised the UN body for its “disproportionate” focus on Israel, which he said was “damaging to the cause of peace”.
With a huge majority, the UN General Assembly last week passed a resolution condemning Israel for using “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate” force during the recent clashes at the Gaza border and calling for an “international protection mechanism” for Palestinian civilians.
The resolution includes a broad condemnation of terrorism and incitement, and “deplores the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilian areas”, but it fails to mention Hamas, the terrorist group responsible for much of the violence from the territory aimed at Israel.
The resolution, proposed by Algeria and Turkey, passed with 120 “yes” votes, 8 “no” votes and 45 abstentions. The eight countries that voted against the resolution were the US, Israel, Australia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Togo and the Solomon Islands.
Ms Haley argued that the draft resolution was biased against Israel. She proposed an amendment that would have added an explicit condemnation of the Hamas terrorist organisation and its firing of rockets, promotion of violence at the Gaza border, and digging of tunnels to infiltrate into Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the statement, calling it a “courageous decision against the hypocrisy and the lies of the so-called UN Human Rights Council”.
Netanyahu described the council as “a biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization that has betrayed its mission of protecting human rights”.
Last year, the UK Government delivered an unprecedented condemnation of the UNHRC’S bias against Israel, announcing that it was putting the UN body “on notice” and would vote against every motion on the conflict unless the body ends its “disproportion and bias” against the Jewish State.
In March 2018, the UK voted against two anti-Israel resolutions, stating that “the existence of a dedicated agenda item (“Item 7”) that singles out Israel does little to advance dialogue, stability or mutual understanding”.