Israel Told To Free Prisoners and End Settlements

Gets Earful After Ending Boycott of U.N. Rights Group

By JTA

Published October 29, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel in its first cooperation with the U.N. Human Rights Council in nearly a year-and-a-half heard calls to halt settlement building and release all Palestinian prisoners.

Israeli representatives appeared in Geneva on Tuesday for a quadrennial review of the country’s human rights record.

Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitzan and U.N. Ambassador Eviatar Manor told the panel that the scheduled release on Tuesday of Palestinian prisoners who had murdered Jews was proof that Israel is serious about the peace process.

Some 76 countries signed up to speak at Tuesday’s session. Criticism ranged from calling on Israel to halt building in the West Bank settlements and release all Palestinian prisoners, to allowing all Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes in Israel. The Iranian envoy would not say Israel, instead referring to the “regime.”

Several countries criticized Israel’s lack of civil-marriage laws for Jews and the fact that the Chief Rabbinate controls Jewish life-cycle events. Israel had severed ties with the United Nations body in March 2012 following the council’s appointment of a fact-finding mission on how Israel’s West Bank settlements affect Palestinians.

It was the second time that Israel has participated in the Universal Periodic Review process.

Since boycotting the review in January, Israel has been granted several extensions. If it had not agreed to appear for the rescheduled review on Tuesday, Israel would have been the first country to boycott the review. Iran and Syria took part in the first round of the process.

In exchange for Israel’s participation in the review process, Western countries have agreed not to participate in a standing Human Rights Council agenda item that requires debate on Israeli human rights violations of the Palestinians, as well as work to add Israel to the membership of the council known as WEOG, or Western Europe and Others Group.

Until these conditions are met, Israel has not fully lifted its boycott of the council.

“Israel’s unfair treatment must come to an end,” Manor said. “I hope our appearance here today will go a long way to restore equality and fairness regarding Israel in Geneva, and I am confident our continued diplomatic engagement will eventually allow our return to full activity within the Council.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.