• Home
  • Bdm News
  • The Closure of the West Bank and Gaza Has Lasted 26 Years

Israel elected to head permanent U.N. committee for first time

Israel on Monday won an election to chair the United Nations' legal committee, the first time that it will head one of the world body's six permanent committees since joining the U.N. in 1949.

While it is a largely symbolic and procedural role, chairing the committee will give Israel a chance to have a higher profile in routine affairs at the United Nations.

The so-called Legal Committee, or Sixth Committee, oversees issues related to international law. The General Assembly has six standing committees that report to it, on: disarmament, economic and financial issues, human rights, decolonization, the U.N. budget, and legal issues.

"I am proud to be the first Israeli elected to this position," Israel U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon said in a statement.

"Israel is a world leader in international law and in fighting terrorism," he added. "We are pleased to have the opportunity to share our knowledge with the countries of the world."

Israel was a candidate for the regional Western European and Others Group (WEOG) and received a comfortable majority of votes - 109 out of 175 valid votes cast in the 193-nation assembly. Sweden was runner-up with 10 votes.

Normally committee heads are elected by consensus without a vote. Opponents to the Israeli candidacy called for a vote, prompting a sharp reaction from the deputy U.S. ambassador to the U.N., David Pressman.

"Even a chair from (former leader Muammar) Gaddafi's Libya was elected by acclamation," he said in a statement. "A vote should not have been called today."

"We need a United Nations that includes Israel, that brings Israel closer, not one that systematically pushes Israel away," he added.

Israel was originally part of the Asia-Pacific Group along with other Middle Eastern and Asian nations, the majority of which are cool or openly hostile toward the Israeli state. Its transfer to WEOG gave it a chance to get elected to leadership posts and play a more active role at the U.N.

The chief Palestinian delegate at the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, complained about the results of the election, saying Arab and Muslim countries had tried to prevent an Israeli victory.

Speaking to reporters, Mansour described Israel as "the biggest violator of international law" and predicted that Danon's election was "threatening the work of the Sixth Committee."

He said the Arab League and 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation had opposed Israel's election.

(Editing by Andrew Hay and Matthew Lewis)Schermata 2016 06 16 alle 10.09.34

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

Boycott Israeli diamond