Diplomacy

Australia, Denmark Call on UNHRC to Drop Anti-Israel Agenda Item

Australia and Denmark slammed the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Monday for its bias against Israel when they spoke at the opening of the council’s 40th session in Geneva, The Jerusalem Post reported. The two nations urged the UNHRC to drop the contentious Agenda Item 7, which mandates that alleged Israeli human rights abuses must be debated at each of the council’s sessions.

“As a member, Denmark will work for a council that treats all states in an equal and fair manner. It undermines the credibility of this council and its members when it insists on singling out one country, Israel, a democracy, under its own agenda item [7],” Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said.

The foreign minister appealed to all 47 UNHRC member states to stay silent during the Item 7 debate, which will take place on March 18.

“All countries should be treated on an equal footing. Therefore, we will not speak under Item 7, but address the situation in Israel/Palestine under other country-specific items [Agenda Item 4] where it belongs. We encourage others to do the same,” Samuelsen said.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne added: “It is our firm view that a separate agenda item focusing on a single country situation – in this case, Israel – is inappropriate. It does not occur in any other context for any other country.”

Agenda Item 7, a permanent fixture on the schedule, is exclusively devoted to discussing alleged human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel is the only country in the UNHRC with a dedicated council item. Every council session includes an agenda item on so-called country-specific situations, known as Agenda Item 4.

Countries hostile to Israel, such as Turkey and Qatar, have politicized the vehicle in the past to discriminate against the Jewish State.

Writing in June 2018, The Tower’s Senior Editor, David Gerstman, observed: “Agenda Items 7 doesn’t just single out Israel for scrutiny, it effectively prejudges Israel as guilty in any violence with the Palestinians. Given that Israel is the only nation singled out, it also makes the agenda item discriminatory and anti-Semitic.”

The United States has long worked to eliminate Agenda Item 7. President Donald Trump has increased pressure on the UNHRC by raising the prospect of withdrawing from the council altogether unless the item is scrapped.

[Photo: ICDK SV / Flickr ]