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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Will Israel show up?

The United States has appealed to Israel not to put the UN 'human rights council' in a bad spot by refusing to show up for Israel's Universal Period Review (UPR) next week. Thankfully, Israel has rejected that appeal. Well, sort of.
"They (Israeli officials) signalled that they want it postponed. It is very unlikely they will participate on the 29th," US human rights ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe told reporters in Geneva.
"I'm fairly optimistic we will find a solution that does not undermine universality or cooperation. That is my hope."
Israel's last review was in December 2008, when it attended. A boycott would be unprecedented and diplomats fear other countries might follow suit to avoid scrutiny of their human rights records.
Israel suspended relations with the council last May because of what it called an inherent bias against it, and has informally told the council's president, Poland's ambassador, that it wants the session postponed, a UN spokesman said.
"A decision will be taken in the event Israel does not show up for its UPR, the council will decide on a course of action. States are working very hard behind the scenes to come up with a solution," council spokesman Rolando Gomez told Reuters.


"We see a strong bias against Israel that has not gone away," Donahoe said on Thursday.
But Washington has urged its ally to take part in the UPR whose universality it does not want to see "broken", she said.
"We have encouraged Israel to come to the UPR, to tell its story, to present its own narrative of its human rights situation. We think it is a good opportunity to do that."
Donahoe added: "My feeling is members understand that it is not only about Israel."
 A 'postponement' would be face-saving for the 'council.' Israel should just say it's not showing up - not next week, not next month and not next year - and let the chips fall where they may.

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