10 months after Israel suspended all working ties with the United Nations Human Rights Council–following UNHRC’s planned investigation of Jewish settlements in the West Bank–it’s being reported that Israel has restored contacts with the Geneva-based body. (The detente may or may not have to do with Avigdor Lieberman’s resignation from Israel’s Foreign Ministry.)
The question now shifts to whether or not Israel will ultimately submit itself to the UNHRC’s oddly-named Universal Periodic Review, a human rights investigation of each member state that, in the past, has given countries like Russia and China the chance to criticize the human rights practices of the United Kingdom. For perspective, Qaddafi’s Libya received a far cleaner bill of health in 2010 in its UPR assessment than the United States did. Here’s how Israel did in its draw for its second UPR.
Each country’s UPR is overseen by three nations, drawn from a lot by a representative of the country under review.
But since Jerusalem did not send any delegate to a session Monday during which Israel’s so-called troika was to be selected, Henczel, the Council’s president, drew the countries to oversee Israel’s review: Maldives, Sierra Leone and Venezuela. Since the government in Caracas is known to be hostile toward Israel, cutting ties in 2009 in the wake of 2008-09 Operation Cast Lead, “commotion and laughter” erupted in the room when Venezuela was drawn, according to notes taken by UN Watch, a Geneva-based watchdog and human rights group.
For more on Venezuelan state-sponsored hostility, check out Matthew Fishbane’s top notch piece about how half of Venezuela’s Jews have fled under Hugo Chavez’s reign.