Israel is cutting off all relations with the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Foreign Ministry announced. The move comes as a response to the council’s decision to establish a fact-finding mission into Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a decision that was condemned by the government.

“We’re stopping all and any cooperation with the council,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said, hours after the ministry’s senior staff decided on the step. “From now on, we will no longer work together in any way, shape or form with any officials from the council, including the High Commissioner” of the Human Rights Council, Navi Pillay, said the senior official. “If anyone from the council calls us, we just won’t answer the phone.”

The source also said Israel would try encourage other countries, especially the US to abandon the Geneva-based body, but acknowledged it would be difficult to do so.

Israel accuses the council of having a pronounced anti-Israel bias because of its disproportionate focus on Israeli policy and actions toward the Palestinians. Israel says the council has ignored human rights abuses in countries such as Iran and Arab nations.

The source said that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman stood behind his description of the Palestinians’ attempt to pressure Israel through international forums as “diplomatic terrorism,” a saying that has drawn criticism even by Foreign Ministry officials.

The source also said Lieberman said it was time to rethink Israel’s policies regarding the Palestinians, but did not give additional details of what form a new policy would take.

Source: Times of Israel

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