Daily Israel Report

Samantha Power Welcomes Israel to UNHRC

"For far too long Israel has been unfairly excluded" at the UN, says American ambassador.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/3/2013, 5:44 AM

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a session of the UNHRC
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a session of the UNHRC
AFP/File

Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, has welcomed Israel’s admittance into the UN Human Rights Council's (UNHRC) Western European and Others Group (WEOG).

In a statement she issued on Monday, Power said, “For far too long Israel has been unfairly excluded from regional bodies at the United Nations. I applaud the decision to admit Israel into the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) at the UN in Geneva beginning January 1, 2014, providing Israel membership into one of the regional bodies that shape policy and determine leadership posts in UN fora.”

Power added, “This long-overdue decision brings Geneva in line with the decision to admit Israel into WEOG in New York in 2000, which continues to pay dividends more than a decade later, as well as more recent efforts by this administration to more fully normalize Israel’s treatment across the UN system.”

“As President Obama has made clear,” she said, “the United States opposes effort to undermine Israel’s legitimacy as a full and equal member of the community of nations, and will continue to work vigorously to end structural discrimination against Israel throughout the UN system.”

The UNHRC announced last week it would accept Israel as a member state, an about-face for the organization which in its five year history has condemned Israel 46 times, far more than any other nation in the world.

Israel cut ties with UNHRC in March 2012 over the Council's intentions to investigate how "settlements may be infringing on the rights" of Palestinian Authority Arabs. In January of this year Israel became the first country to boycott a UNHRC periodic review of its rights situation.

Israel changed its position in October and decided to attend the periodic review, reportedly after Germany threatened of a diplomatic backlash if Israel did not attend.

Power has previously slammed the UN’s "unacceptable bias" against Israel and pledged to lobby hard to get Israel a seat on the Security Council.

Israel recently announced plans to run for a rotating seat on the UN Security Council for the first time ever for 2019-2020.