Liberman to Tillerson: UNHRC degrades Israel

Israeli Defense Minister asks Secretary of State to reconsider American policy towards UNHRC and UNRWA.

Nitsan Keidar,

Liberman and Tillerson
Liberman and Tillerson
Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday asked U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to reconsider American policy towards the UN Human Rights Council and the UN refugee agency UNRWA.

“They do not play the role that they are intended to play. Instead, the Human Rights Council deals with the degradation of Israel and tries to harm it through distortion of reality,” Liberman told Tillerson as the two met in Washington.

“It is unacceptable,” Lieberman stressed, “that more than 60% of the resolutions passed by the Council are resolutions dealing with Israel instead of dealing with the human rights situations in Iran and North Korea, and the mass murder and atrocities taking place in Syria.”

Accordingly, Liberman asked Tillerson to explore the possibility of withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council and ceasing its participation in its funding, and also examine the conduct of the refugee agency UNRWA and the criteria for its operations.

The two also discussed at their meeting the relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with Liberman stressing to Tillerson that “settlements are not an obstacle to peace. They did not prevent peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan and also are not an obstacle to a settlement with the Palestinians.”

“Even the evacuation of 21 flourishing communities in Gaza did not lead to peace but to the firing of rockets at Israel,” Liberman pointed out, adding, “Unfortunately, there are factors in the international community who take advantage of the settlements and used them as a pretext to incite against Israel, and this is despite the fact that the terrorism and the incitement to violence do not come from Israel or the settlements but rather from the Palestinian side.”

Liberman and Tillerson also discussed the goings on in Syria and Lebanon as well as Iran's negative influence on events in the region, and how it undermines the stability in the Middle East and continues to spread terrorism throughout the world.

Lieberman thanked Secretary Tillerson for his friendship with Israel and for the warm welcome. Following the formal meeting, the two held a private conversation.

Liberman is currently on a visit to the United States, meeting with senior officials in the Trump administration.

On Tuesday, he met with Defense Secretary James Mattis and stressed the importance of having an active United States in the Middle East.

Later that night, Liberman met with Vice President Mike Pence and told him he was waiting to see the American Embassy move to its new home in Jerusalem.