Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Trump Admin Boycotts UN Human Rights Council Over Anti-Israel Stance

Trump Admin Boycotts UN Human Rights Council Over Anti-Israel Stance

Agenda Item Seven is a permanent fixture that requires the council to discuss three times each year any alleged abuses of human rights committed by Israel against Palestinians.

A State Department statement said the United States "unequivocally" opposes the council's agenda item for Monday titled "Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories". "The continued existence of this agenda item is among the largest threats to the credibility of the Council".

Meanwhile, as part of its obligations under the Israel agenda item, Guterres's office presented its latest findings to the council on Monday.

The US held a council seat for six of Obama's eight years.

America is one of the UNHRC's 47 member states, but the Trump administration has warned that it could reconsider its participation in the UNHRC unless it makes a number of changes, including in its treatment of Israel.

"The argument that the US has to participate in bodies like the United Nations Human Rights Council or risk losing our influence over it is ridiculous", the Free Beacon quoted one senior administration official.

The US has taken those concerns to the next level, with top diplomat Rex Tillerson publicly threatening to withdraw from the council over its "biased agenda item against Israel".

Moving forward, the Trump White House has said it intends to vote against every United Nations resolution that negatively impacts Israel and will encourage other countries to do the same.

The U.S. will vote against all the resolutions under the agenda item, he explained, adding that the administration will be encouraging other countries to join them.

All of this follows the Obama administration's controversial decision to not vote against but abstain from a vote on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which demands Israel halt construction in land Palestinians claim as their own.

Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon also blasted the UNHRC.

"We have unequivocal evidence that the Security Council resolution passed in the United Nations against Israel was led by the administration", he said at the time.

He accused Israel of "the subjugation of [Palestinians'] humanity", and also cited a UN Security Council resolution in December that called the establishment of settlements in the West Bank a "flagrant violation" of worldwide law.

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