[JURIST] Israel announced Monday that the country will sever ties to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] after it commenced an international investigation [press release] into Israeli settlements in the West Bank. A spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced [Reuters report] this decision on Monday, adding that Israel will continue to work with other UN bodies. The UNHRC launched an independent investigation last Thursday to determine the effect that Israeli settlements have had on the civil, political, economic and cultural rights of the Palestinian people. The US was the only country to vote against the investigation, called for by the Palestinian Authority. The UNHRC stated:
Concerning the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and in the Occupied Syrian Golan, the Council demanded that Israel cease all of its settlement activities, condemned the firing of rockets against Israeli civilian areas and called upon Israel to cease prolonged closures and economic and movement restrictions, including those amounting to a blockade on the Gaza Strip.Israeli leaders have condemned the UNHRC investigation claiming that it is biased against Israel.
Israel has faced criticism for its treatment of the Palestinian people. Last month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged Israel [JURIST report] to change its policies that forbid Palestinians from traveling through and living in Gaza and the West Bank. The report describes the policy that causes separation within Palestinian families since some are trapped inside Israel while their family members are forbidden from entering. In January, the Israeli Supreme Court [official website] upheld [JURIST report] a law that prevents Palestinians who marry Israelis from obtaining Israeli citizenship.