Israel ends boycott of UN human rights council in exchange for favours from West

Israel is ending its 18 month boycott of the United Nations Human Rights Council in exchange for being added to the council’s bloc of “western countries” and progress in negotiations with the EU concerning Israel’s participation in the Horizon2020 programme.

The Israeli news site walla reports that strong diplomatic pressure was exerted on Israel to end its boycott of the UN Human Rights Council hearings, a boycott initiated in March 2012 by former Foriegn Minister Lieberman (Likud-Beitenu), who objected by a council decision to discuss Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights at each hearing.

Western countries, including the United States, EU member states and Australia, did not want Israel to be the sole country boycotting the council, a move which could pave the way for additional states to follow suit.

A senior Israeli diplomatic source told Walla that while the “Article 7” decision to discuss Israeli violations at every hearing was not totally removed, the commitments attained by Israel from western countries “represent a substantial diplomatic achievement” for Israel. The source added that Israel’s decision to attend this week’s hearing of the Human Rights Council will also advance “the contacts between Israel and the EU concerning¬†Israel’s participation in the Horizon2020” research programme of the EU.

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