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      Abbas Quick to Welcome UN Investigation of 'Settlements'

      PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas says UNHRC mission to investigate communities in Judea and Samaria is "a new international position."
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 3/23/2012, 7:15 AM

      Abbas opens up Doha conference
      Abbas opens up Doha conference
      Reuters

      Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was quick to welcome Thursday’s decision of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to appoint a commission to investigate alleged Israeli violations relating to Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria.

      Abbas’ spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said in a statement quoted by the Ma’ariv newspaper that Abbas “welcomes the UN Human Rights Council’s decision to establish a committee to investigate the effect of the building in settlements on the Palestinian public.”

      Ma’ariv also noted that the PA was quick to glorify its achievement.

      “This is a new international position that supports the rights of Palestinians and sends a message to Israel from the international community that the settlements are illegal and must stop altogether,” Abu Rudeineh said in his statement.

      He also thanked the 36 countries that supported the resolution.

      The UNHRC’s decision came after earlier this week, the Palestinian Authority announced it plans to approach the UNHRC and ask it to investigate the ‘Israeli crimes’ in Judea and Samaria.

      The PA’s Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Malki, said the PA would ask the UNHRC to appoint an international fact-finding commission “to come to the occupied Palestinian territory to witness firsthand the illegal Israeli practices violating Palestinian people’s rights.”

      Israel announced after the decision was announced that it would not be cooperating with the “fact-finding mission.”

      Diplomatic sources said that Israel “will not give legitimacy to a body that is not legitimate.”

      MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said after the decision that “the word surreal is not enough to describe the Council's decision to stand by Hamas in the diplomatic fight against Israel.”

      Hotovely added that, “The problem of human rights in the world is summed up, according to this twisted world view, in Israel's construction of neighborhoods in its capital city.”

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was quick to issue a statement denouncing the UNHRC. “This is a hypocritical council with an automatic majority against Israel. This council ought to be ashamed of itself," he said.

      "Until today, the council has made 91 decisions, 39 of which dealt with Israel, three with Syria and one with Iran," the prime minister noted. "One only had to hear the Syrian representative speak today about human rights in order to understand how detached from reality the council is. Another proof of its detachment from reality came last week when it invited before it a representative of Hamas, an organization whose ideology is based on the murder of innocents.”