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Thursday March 25, 2010 7:34 AM (EST+7)
UN rights council condemns Israel despite US opposition

Read more: United Nations Human Rights Council, United Nations, human rights, international law, occupation

GENEVA, March 24 (Reuters) -- The United Nations Human Rights Council passed three resolutions on Wednesday condemning Israel over its policies in occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories, but the United States voted against them all.

A further resolution, calling for a fund to compensate Palestinians who suffered losses during Israel's offensive in Gaza 14 months ago, is expected to be passed on Thursday.

One resolution on grave human rights violations by Israeli forces in the Palestinian Territories -- which was passed by 31 votes to 9, with 7 abstentions in the 47-member Council -- demanded that Israel end its occupation of Palestinian land occupied since 1967.

It also demanded that Israel stop what it called targeting of Palestinian civilians and systematic destruction of their cultural heritage, halt all military operations across Palestinian land and lift its blockade of Gaza.

The United States and the European Union, whose seven members on the Council vote separately but generally in unison, opposed the resolution, with both saying it was unbalanced.

Another resolution called on Israel to stop building all settlements in the occupied territories and move to withdrawing those now there, was passed by 45 votes with the EU supporting it and only the United States opposing.

The third condemned Israel for what it called systematic violation of the rights of the people of the occupied Syrian Golan heights. The United States voted no, while 15 countries, including EU members, abstained.

The United States, which itself is in a diplomatic row with Israel over settlements which the government of Benjamin Netanyahu is vowing to pursue, told the Council that the three resolutions would do nothing to help peace.

It said the body was too often being used as a platform to single out Israel for condemnation while rights violations by other countries were ignored.

Britain, which expelled an Israeli diplomat on Tuesday in a row over forged UK passports, voted for the settlements resolution, against on Palestinian rights, and abstained on the Syrian vote.

The Council is effectively dominated by a developing country bloc in which the Organization of the Islamic Conference has a strong influence and which is routinely supported by China, Russia and Cuba.






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