Ned Price
Ned Price REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/POOL/File Photo

The US State Department on Tuesday criticized an upcoming report by a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Commission of Inquiry, which is expected to condemn Israel over alleged war crimes during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May, 2021.

“The United States is committed to advancing human rights in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity, and, importantly, dignity. Promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms is important in its own right and as a means of preserving and advancing the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price in a statement.

“As we have stated repeatedly, we firmly oppose the open-ended and vaguely defined nature of the UN Human Rights Council’s (HRC) Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the situation in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, which represents a one-sided, biased approach that does nothing to advance the prospects for peace. The report of the Commission, released today, does nothing to alleviate our concerns. While the United States believes the HRC plays a crucial role in promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms globally, this COI and report do not advance this goal,” he added.

“Israel is the only country subject to a standing agenda item at the HRC and has received disproportionate focus at the HRC compared to human rights situations elsewhere in the world. While no country is above scrutiny, the existence of this COI in its current form is a continuation of a longstanding pattern of unfairly singling out Israel. We reengaged with and later re-joined the HRC in part to be in a better position to address its flaws, including this one, and we will continue to seek reforms.”

The United States remains deeply committed to helping achieve peace for both Israelis and Palestinians and will support actions in the UN that bring the parties together to advance prospects for peace,” concluded Price.

The UNHRC Commission of Inquiry is chaired by Navi Pillay, who has a history of anti-Israel statements.

In 2014, she condemned Israel for "targeting" UN-run schools and hospitals in Gaza, while failing to mention three UN-run schools in Gaza had been used as rocket warehouses, a gross violation of international law that clearly falls within the category of war crimes.

Weeks before that, Pillay opened an emergency UN debate on Gaza by saying there is a "strong possibility" that Israel is violating law in Gaza, and that could amount to war crimes.

The UNHRC is notorious for its longstanding bias against Israel. Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the UNHRC in 2018 due to this.

However, the Biden administration returned to the organization, even though it acknowledged its “disproportionate focus” on Israel.