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      UN Watch Denounces UNHRC Unbalanced 'Settlement' Probe

      UN watchdog group expressed concern over 'unbalanced' UNHRC panel probing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
      By Rachel Hirshfeld
      First Publish: 7/8/2012, 5:29 PM

      Karnei Shomron
      Karnei Shomron
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      United Nations watchdog group UN Watch expressed concern over the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) panel set to probe Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, calling it unbalanced.  

      The terms of the inquiry are solely based on examining violations by Jewish “settlements,” but refrain, completely, from focusing on those of the ‘Palestinians.’

      "While there are genuine human rights victims on all sides, this inquiry’s mandate is imbalanced and lacks credibility," said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

      "Its terms were framed in a 4-page resolution, co-sponsored by the Arab and Islamic groups, that omits any reference to Arab terrorism against Israeli civilians, including the hundreds of rockets fired recently from Gaza and Sinai into Israeli towns and villages," he stated.

      "The only victims it contemplates are Palestinians, the only perpetrator, Israel. In the guise of human rights, Syria and other oppressive regimes sponsored this UN inquiry to deflect attention from their own crimes, to scapegoat Israel and erode its international standing," Neuer continued.

      Israel severed contacts with the UN Human Rights Council in March after it announced it would investigate the so-called “settlements,” saying the UNHRC was “singling out” Israel.

      The all-female panel is chaired by Christine Chanet of France and includes Unity Dow of Botswana and Asma Jahangir from Pakistan. It is tasked with carrying out a fact-finding mission "to investigate the implications of the settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem," said UNHRC president Laura Dupuy Lasserre.   

      Christine Chanet recently accused Israel of “total discrimination” and complained that “it is very difficult to have a real dialogue” with the Jewish state.

      Asma Jahangir’s sister Hina Jilani served on the UN’s controversial Goldstone commission in 2009.

      However, Lasserre claims that the each member of the panel “has a long track record of impartial, independent, and objective human rights work of the highest caliber."

      Israel's foreign ministry reacted with anger to the mission's establishment, calling it "another blatant expression of the singling out of Israel in the UNHRC and of the uncandid approach that characterizes the Council's dealing with Israel."   

      The ministry said on Friday that the "disproportionate focus" the UNHRC puts solely on Israel, "leads to the contempt and degradation of the important cause of universal human rights."   

      "In times when (Syrian) president (Bashar al-)Assad's regime massacres thousands of its own people, the UNHRC only dedicates it symbolic time ... while turning its resources to obsessively focus on Israel," the foreign ministry said.   

      The statement pledged that the mission "will find no cooperation in Israel, and its members will not be allowed to enter Israel and the (Palestinian) territories."   

      UN Watch called on the commissioners "not to commit the same errors of the Goldstone Report, which Judge Goldstone famously acknowledged two years later."