UNHRC is voting today on a resolution establishing a Commission of Inquiry into Israeli-Palestinian human rights violations will be an important test of EU member states’ commitment to international law but also of their willingness to address the root causes of the cycle of violence.
The following EU MS are currently voting members of the HRC: AT, BG, CZECH REPUBLIC, DE, DK, FR, IT, NL, PL. Plus UK.
EU’s double standard: EU countries have a poor record in supporting UN investigations into Israeli-Palestinian violence, unlike for other conflicts. Since 2009, the UNHRC established 21 inquiries into 13 conflicts, according to EuMEP’s research note published today. EU states unanimously voted for all resolutions establishing these inquiries except for those on Israel/Palestine, where they mostly abstained, as seen in 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2018.
Draft resolution: On past occasions, EU MS sometimes justified their abstention by claiming that the resolutions were imbalanced (although they mandated investigation of all violations). This largely reflected their own imbalance in discounting Israel’s overwhelming responsibility as the occupying power. This time, however, the draft resolution (as usual drafted by Palestine and submitted by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC) is different. It avoids any direct criticism of either side and comes straight to the point of establishing the CoI to investigate “all alleged violations” of IHL and IHRL, thus pre-empting any allegations of imbalance. At the same time, and unlike on previous occasions, the draft mandates the CoI to cover violations on both sides of the Green Line – also in Israel – and the “underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity”. It also calls for the CoI to be “ongoing” – as is the investigative mechanism for Myanmar established by the UNHRC with unanimous EU support in 2018.