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Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Review of 2009: The Human Rights Council - 12th Special Session on the Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

The Human Rights Council’s 12th Special Session on the Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem took place on 16 October 2009. Ms. Navanethem Pillay opened the Session reiterating her support for the fact-finding mission and expressing her dismay over the “culture of impunity [that] continues to prevail in the occupied territories and in Israel”. “It is [thus] necessary to carry out prompt and effective investigations in compliance with international standards.” “Human rights are not obstacles to peace, but the preconditions to trust and on which durable peace can be built… Addressing impunity for human rights and the humanitarian crisis is essential in order to carry on the peace process.” 

Israel strongly rejected the gathering of the meeting stating, “Such meetings like today should only be called in case of emergencies. Everyone knows today’s meeting is not about human rights but the abuse and integrity of this organization.” The representative continued, accusing the Goldstone Report as biased and flawed and “wrong in spirit” and as ignoring Israel’s right to self-defense. “Action here today will set back hopes for peace – it will not be a special session of this international organization but dialogue that will offer clear benefits and mutual trust. The only beneficiary of today’s session is Hamas and their allies… The political weapons proposed here today have nothing to do with human rights.”

Palestine welcomed the Goldstone report and OHCHR, and called to putting an end to violations and to respecting human rights. “We called this meeting to address the grave situation, submitting a draft resolution that condemns [current Israeli] practices”, which violate international law, human rights law, and humanitarian law. The representative called to putting an end to these practices and to respecting human rights.

Member States responses were for the most part linear. Member States condemned Israel’s continuous military campaign and outright violations of international law. They maintained their support for the Goldstone Report, called upon both parties to adhere to international humanitarian law and respect all international norms, and stressed the need for Israel and Palestine to enter into serious peace negotiations as soon as possible. 


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