Israel’s willingness to release Palestinian prisoners who killed its citizens shows that it is serious about peace, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Eviatar Manor, told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday.
“All of them have blood on their hands; all of them have murdered Israelis. Their release, I believe, illustrates Israel’s determination to reach an agreement with our Palestinians neighbours that will, once and for all, end the conflict” he said, in a reference to the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners, including many who committed grisly crimes against Israelis, as part of a deal that set in motion the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Israel ended an 18-month boycott of the UNHRC after repeated discrimination by the Council against Israel and agreed to participate in the Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process of its human rights record. Since the UNHRC’s inception in 2006, it had singled Israel out either for special sessions, investigatory missions or censures, more than any other country.
Israel’s report of its human rights record, dealt with human rights struggles for Israeli citizens in areas of the country within the pre- 1967 lines and east Jerusalem, where Israeli law fully applies.
Israeli ambassador to the UN Eviator Manor admitted to the council that Israel does not have “a perfect record”, stressing that the situation in Israel has been complicated due to “our difficult and complex security situation” with the Palestinian Arabs since its foundation in 1948. “Such challenges strain the delicate balance between the effective steps necessary to overcome the various threats to a state’s security and to the protection of human rights.”
Manor further emphasized that Israel is clear of all wrongdoing, stating that “Israel’s appearance here is testimony to our daily efforts to uphold the highest standards of human rights.”
He said Israel’s “unfair treatment” over the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria “must come to an end”.