Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat Flash 90

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) secretary general Saeb Erekat on Wednesday criticized the United States for withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council, saying it was advancing "international anarchy".

Erekat claimed the U.S. move aligned it with "Israel's colonization of Palestine, rather than the rule of international law and UN resolutions."

"The Trump administration continues its efforts to promote international anarchy by withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council," Erekat said in a statement quoted by AFP.

He noted that the move came after the United States failed to "normalize" Israeli “settlement expansion” and "other systematic violations of Palestinian national and human rights."

Ambassador Nikki Haley, in a joint press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, formally announced on Tuesday that the United States is withdrawing from the UNHRC, which she described as “a protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias”.

“If the Human Rights Council is going to attack countries that uphold human rights and attack those that abuse human rights, then the U.S. should not provide it with credibility,” Haley continued, while pointing out the Council’s blatant anti-Israel bias.

“We are withdrawing from the UNHRC, an organization that is not worthy of its name,” said Haley.

Israel welcomed the U.S. decision, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu calling the UNHRC a "biased, hostile, anti-Israel organization."

"Instead of dealing with regimes that systematically violate human rights, the UNHRC obsessively focuses on Israel, the one genuine democracy in the Middle East," Netanyahu said.

“The U.S. decision to leave this prejudiced body is an unequivocal statement that enough is enough. Israel welcomes the American announcement,” he added.

Erekat declared on Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority would "continue to work with the international community and organizations" despite "the threats and tactics of intimidation

and extortion by the Trump administration."

The U.S. move followed previous threats by the Trump administration to withdraw from the Human Rights Council over its anti-Israel bias.

In March, Haley issued a statement after the UNHRC adopted five resolutions condemning Israel while adopting only one resolution each against North Korea, Iran, and Syria. This has become an annual ritual, as every March, the Council sets aside only two sessions to debate human rights violations and abuses in all countries and another entire session just to debate a single country, Israel.

“When the Human Rights Council treats Israel worse than North Korea, Iran, and Syria, it is the Council itself that is foolish and unworthy of its name,” said the American Ambassador.

Haley also condemned the council after it voted to establish a commission of inquiry to examine possible war crimes committed by Israel during the recent confrontations on the Gaza border last month.