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US Remains Deeply Troubled by HRC’s Stand alone Agenda Item Directed Against Israel
March 28, 2014

Item 7:  Resolutions A/HRC/25L.36, A/HRC/25/L37,
A/HRC/25/L.38, A/HRC/25/L.39, A/HRC/25/L.40

Explanation of Position by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Paula G. Schriefer

Human Rights Council 25th Session
Geneva, March 27, 2014

Mr. President and fellow Council members:

The time, effort and resources the United States has devoted to trying to forge peace in the Middle East over the last several decades, including the ongoing negotiations that began last year, underscore our deep concern for both Palestinians and Israelis.  The only way to resolve this tragic conflict is a lasting peace between the parties. The status quo is not sustainable.

In light of our overarching efforts to bring to reality both Israeli and Palestinian aspirations for peace we are deeply troubled once again to be presented with a slate of one-sided resolutions that undermine efforts to make progress in the current negotiations, as well as undermine the important and credible work done in this Council.  These resolutions presuppose the outcome of final status issues that can only be resolved through direct negotiations between the parties.

We all share a responsibility to promote and protect human rights.  Actions which help move the parties toward peace remain the surest way to protect the human rights of Palestinians and Israelis alike.  The United States works continuously to support social and economic development in the Palestinian territories, as well as the legitimate political aspirations of the Palestinian people.  To this end, we continue to provide financial and technical support to the Palestinian Authority and assistance directly to the Palestinian people.  The United States is the largest single country donor to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which provides critical humanitarian services to Palestinian refugees.

We remain deeply troubled, however, by this Council’s stand alone agenda item directed against Israel, and by the many repetitive and one-sided resolutions under that agenda item.  None of the world’s worst human rights violators, some of whom are the object of resolutions at this session, have their own stand alone agenda item at this Council.  Only Israel, a vibrant and open democracy, receives such treatment.  I would also highlight that country after country that spoke so passionately against country-specific mandates this morning have no difficulty supporting this single country mandate.  Unfortunately, not only are the resolutions under this agenda item biased, but they work against our collective efforts to advance a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. All parties to this conflict have direct responsibilities for ending it, and we are disappointed that this Council continually singles out Israel for criticism without acknowledging the violent attacks directed at its people, nor the obligations and difficult steps required of both sides to resolve their conflict.

The international community should do all it can to support the parties’ efforts to bring about a just and lasting peace, and should avoid actions that hinder that outcome, such as this agenda item.

Especially disturbing is this Council’s complacency with the repeated introduction of a resolution focusing on the Golan Heights. To consider such a resolution while the Syrian regime continues to slaughter its own citizens by the tens of thousands exemplifies the absurdity of this agenda item.

For these reasons, we call for a vote on this resolution and each of the other resolutions under agenda Item 7, and we urge our fellow Members to join us in voting “no” on each of them.