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Israel bars United Nations Human Rights Council from West Bank

A fact-finding mission was set to enter to investigate the effect settlements have on Palestinian human rights; Israel's Foreign Minister says UNHRC is used for "political bashing."

israeli settlements settlers unhrcEnlarge
A Palestinian protester confronts an Israeli soldier during a protest after Palestinians and peace activists were prevented by Israeli troops from reaching Palestinian lands in the West Bank village of Beit Omar near the Jewish settlement of Karmei Tzur on March 24, 2012. (Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel's foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, told an Israeli radio station that a United Nations Human Rights Council fact finding mission would not be permitted to enter the country. The group planned to investigate whether Israeli settlements violate the human rights of Palestinians, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The country also cut off relations with the rights body; Haaretz reported Ayalon ordered the Israeli United Nations ambassador in Geneva to "ignore phone calls from the commissioner," Navi Pillay. 

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The Associated Press wrote that Israel "accuses accuses the council of having a pronounced anti-Israel bias" and says it does not focus on rights abuses in Iran and other Arab countries.

In another article, Jerusalem Post said that Israel is leaving their Geneva-based United Nations ambassador intact, to liaise with other UN groups there.

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"The secretariat of the human rights council and [Navi Pillay] sparked this process by establishing an international investigative committee on settlements," an Israeli official told Haaretz.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/120326/israel-bars-united-nations-human-right