Richard A. Falk's Report On Human Rights In The Palestinian Territories "Seriously Flawed"

Human Rights Council in session, 2010.

Human Rights Council in session, 2010.

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

Delivered by Mark Cassayre

Human Rights Council 14th Session

Geneva, June 14, 2010

Presentation of the Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human
rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967” Richard A. Falk

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States takes note of the report of the Special Rapporteur “on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories.” As we have relayed previously, we regret that the mandate of Special Rapporteur Falk extends only to reporting on Israel, and on many occasions we have urged this Council to adopt a balanced, objective, and constructive focus on the situation in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. We are not asking the Council to refrain from addressing Israel but rather ask that the human rights situation in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza be examined in the same way as the human rights situations in other countries. Beyond our concerns about the biased mandate that Special Rapporteur Falk inherited, we also remain concerned about the one-sided focus of his report.

The report’s conclusions and recommendations are seriously flawed. The Special Rapporteur fails to adequately address the responsibility of Hamas in the lead up to the Gaza conflict, and indeed, seeks to minimize that responsibility. Falk also fails to address the real and serious abuses and violations of international law by Hamas in Gaza as it seeks to promote its radical agenda and entrench itself in power, including everything from unlawful killings to harassing NGOs, limiting their ability to provide humanitarian assistance. The Special Rapporteur also deliberately misconstrues elements of U.S. efforts to advance a comprehensive Middle East peace. His call for further boycotts and divestments from Israel is highly inappropriate, and, if implemented, would only serve to heighten tensions in the region and move the parties further from peace.

As we have said before, ultimately, the best way to end the human rights abuses that stem from the Arab-Israeli conflict is to end the conflict. The United States is working vigorously to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, based on the establishment of an independent and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its neighbors. We note that Israel and the Palestinians have begun indirect talks, which we hope will lead to a peace agreement. U.S. Special Envoy George Mitchell has now held several rounds of serious and wide-ranging proximity talks with the parties. Our goal is to re-launch direct, bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in the near term that will address all of the permanent status issues , including security, borders, refugees, and Jerusalem. We want the direct negotiations to resume as soon as possible with a 24-month timetable for their successful conclusion.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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