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  • A Participant runs past the Israeli barrier during the annual Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, March 23, 2018.

    A Participant runs past the Israeli barrier during the annual Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, March 23, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 March 2018

The U.S. threatened to withdraw from the Human Rights Council over anti-Israel "bias." 

The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted five resolutions regarding Israel and its illegal occupation of the West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, and human rights abuse against Palestinians during its 37th session, which concluded on March 23.

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One of the resolutions urges an arms embargo on Israel, and calls on the international community to stop the sale of weapons to Israel, echoing international campaigns by human rights and anti-occupation activists who have been calling for an arms embargo since Israel’s last attack on Gaza in 2014.

Other resolutions called on Israel to withdraw from the occupied Golan Heights, taken from Syria after the 1967 war, to go back to pre-1967 borders, and to halt settlement construction in the West Bank. The last resolution condemned Israel for its human rights violations against Palestinians living under occupation.

U.N. resolutions are symbolic because the organization has no enforcement mechanism. For instance while most member states in the U.N. voted in favor of a resolution against the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Washington is preparing to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem and Israel hands out demolition orders to the entire Bedouin town of Umm al-Hiran to make way for a new Jewish town.

However, the resolutions do represent a diplomatic setback for Israel and its main ally, the United States is not happy about it.  

U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley used the opportunity to charge the council with anti-Israel “bias,” and threatened to withdraw from the council. “The United States continues to evaluate our membership in the Human Rights Council. Our patience is not unlimited,” Haley said during her intervention.


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