UN to open permanent probe against Israel

The UN's Human Rights Council is expected to place Israel under permanent investigation for its continuous "violations" of international law in the occupied Palestinian territories until it withdraws to the pre-1967 borders, diplomatic sources said.

UN to open permanent probe against Israel

The UN'sHuman Rights Council is expected to place Israel under permanentinvestigation for its continuous "violations" of international law in theoccupied Palestinian territories until it withdraws to the pre-1967 borders,diplomatic sources told Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

Opening a permanent probe against Israelis one of at least four other anti-Israeli actions the Council is expected totake during its fourth session, which began in Genevaon Monday and ends on April 5, Neuer told The Jerusalem Post.

The UN Human Rights Council was created in June to replace the widelydiscredited Human Rights Commission, which was scrapped because it had a faultymembership system.

Up to now the 47-member body, which includes Cuba,Saudi Arabia and Cgina, hascensured only one country - Israel- for its human rights violations in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

It has passed eight resolutions against Israel, and has held three specialsessions to discuss the Jewish state's human rights violations, despite Westernopposition.

Israel is only anobserver on the Council, while the U.S. refuses to join the rightsbody over the continued condemnation of its strongest ally.

Neuer and Israel'sambassador to the UN in Geneva, Yitzhak Levanon,predicted that this session would also focus on Israel'srights violations, although the council is expected to discuss human rightsabuses in other parts of the world, including in the Sudanese war-torn regionof Darfur.

"I'm expecting there will be some clashes concerning Israel," Levanon told The Jerusalem Post.

Neuer said Israel wouldbe slammed for the excavation works near Al-Aqsa Mosque compound inIsraeli-annexed East Jerusalem.

Palestinians and Muslims all over the world have angrily condemned Israel'sdestructive digging which began on February 6 near Islam's third holiest site.

The Israeli government says that the excavations are aimed at preparing fora construction project needed to repair a ramp that partially collapsed in asnowstorm three years ago.

But Muslim leaders warn that the digging could damage the foundations of themosque complex, known to Muslims as the al- Haram al-Qudsi al-Sharif (The NobleSanctuary), and as Temple Mount to Jews and someChristians.

Although Jerusalem'smayor ordered a review of the Israeli construction project, the excavationworks didn't stop.

Moreover, the Council would also condemn Israel for refusing entry to twoinvestigative teams in July and in November, Neuer said.

The first international mission was sent to examine the impact of Israel's deadly attacks against Palestiniancivilians in Gazafollowing the capture of Cpl. Gilad Schalit by Palestinian resistance fightersin June.

The second team was dispatched to investigate the Israeli army's bloodyattack on a residential neighborhood in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza last November, where18 Palestinian civilians, including women and children, were killed and about60 others wounded.

Levanon said both missions were denied entry because "they were biased against Israel".

The Human Council is also set to hear a report compiled by UN SpecialRapporteur John Dugard that compares Israeli actions in the occupiedPalestinian territories to that of the former apartheid system in South Africa.

Source: Agencies

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