Source: ABC News
Israel has severed all contact with the United Nations Human Rights Council after it condemned the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
The council last week voted in favour of an investigation into how Israeli settlements may be infringing on the rights of Palestinians.
Palestinian officials say they are preparing maps and photos to present as evidence to the committee.
Israel, which is not a member of the council, has slammed the decision as hypocritical and biased.
Now it has cut all contact with the council by declaring it will refuse to have any relations with those involved – whether in person, on paper, in meetings or any other exchange of information.
“As the Human Rights Council in Geneva systematically ignores our views, our positions and our concerns, we have decided as of today not to cooperate,” Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.
“We have decided to severe all working ties with this body … and this will remain so until further notice.”
UN Human Rights Council president Laura Dupuy says Israel’s reaction is “most regrettable”.
“I have no doubt that it is in the interest of Israel to cooperate with the Human Rights Council on this investigative mission, not least so that it can explain its own policies and actions to the independent commissioners once they are appointed,” she said.
Hamas, which rules Gaza, says Israel is attempting to blackmail international institutions that criticise it.
About 500,000 Israeli settlers and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war.
Palestinians want the territory for an independent state along with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Palestinians say settlements, considered illegal by the International Court of Justice, the highest UN legal body for disputes, would deny them a viable state.
Israel cites historical and Biblical links to the West Bank and says the status of settlements should be decided in peace negotiations.