Israel weighs ban on UN human rights council probe

Last Updated: Monday, March 26, 2012 - 00:00

Jerusalem: Israeli Cabinet ministers were in
an uproar on Sunday over the UN Human Rights Council`s plan to
investigate Israeli settlement in the West Bank and east
Jerusalem, and some urged that the panel be banned from
entering Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Israel`s Security Cabinet, made up of senior ministers,
was set to meet later today to discuss the planned visit, an
official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the
meeting`s agenda was classified.

Last week the UN council voted to send a fact-finding
team to investigate Israeli settlement construction in a
resolution that also condemned such activity. It was one of
five resolutions critical of Israel passed on the same day.

Israel accuses the council of having a pronounced
anti-Israel bias because of its disproportionate focus on
Israeli policy and actions toward the Palestinians, while it
ignores human rights abuses in countries such as Iran and Arab
nations.

"It`s clear the Palestinians are preparing a Goldstone 2
(report)," Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who wants the
council banned, told Israel Radio on Sunday.

Ayalon was referring to a UN-commissioned report by South
African jurist Richard Goldstone about Israel`s war in the
Gaza Strip three years ago, aimed at stopping daily rocket
attacks.

Its allegation that Israeli forces intentionally fired at
Palestinian civilians triggered outrage in Israel and
widespread condemnation of its wartime conduct. Goldstone
later retracted that accusation.

The Israeli official said Cabinet ministers would also
discuss how to respond to this week`s planned marches toward
Israel`s borders announced by pro-Palestinian activists in
Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

The plans have touched off jitters in Israel because last
May, thousands of Arab protesters took Israel by surprise
marching on its frontiers, sparking clashes that killed at
least 15.

PTI



First Published: Monday, March 26, 2012 - 00:00

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