newsIsrael at War

Jerusalem rebukes UNHRC over call for arms embargo

Israel's Foreign Affairs Ministry rejected the U.N. Human Rights Council's call to withhold weapons from Israel over alleged violations.

A view of the U.N. Human Rights Council special session on “the deteriorating human-rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem,” May 2018. Photo by Elma Okic/U.N.
A view of the U.N. Human Rights Council special session on “the deteriorating human-rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem,” May 2018. Photo by Elma Okic/U.N.

Israel Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Saturday night posted a scathing criticism of the United Nations and its Human Rights Council after it issued a report calling for an arms embargo of Israel.

“Since the October 7 massacre, the @UN has cooperated with Hamas terrorists and is trying to undermine Israel’s right to defend itself and its citizens,” he tweeted, adding that the world body has turned a blind eye to Israeli suffering, including sexual crimes, at the hands of Hamas.

Katz described the U.N.’s failure to hold Hamas accountable “a stain that cannot be erased, on the U.N. as an organization and personally on the U.N. secretary-general.”

On Friday, the Geneva-based group issued a statement citing “U.N. experts,” including special rapporteurs, independent experts and working groups: “Any transfer of weapons or ammunition to Israel that would be used in Gaza is likely to violate international humanitarian law and must cease immediately.”

The experts welcomed the Dutch appeals court’s Feb. 12 decision ordering the Netherlands to stop sending F-35 jet-replacement parts to Israel, as well as the suspension of weapons transfers by Belgium, Italy, Spain and the Japanese firm Itochu Corporation.

It urged other states to follow suit.

The “experts” also cited the Jan. 26 ruling by the International Court of Justice at the Hague, which cited “a plausible risk of genocide in Gaza and the continuing serious harm to civilians since then.”

However, the statement neglected to mention the court’s rejection of South Africa’s request for an order immediately halting Israel’s war against Hamas.

The U.N. statement also said military intelligence shouldn’t be shared with Israel.

“State officials involved in arms exports may be individually criminally liable for aiding and abetting any war crimes, crimes against humanity or acts of genocide,” according to the statement. “All States under the principle of universal jurisdiction, and the International Criminal Court, may be able to investigate and prosecute such crimes.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, “Even in the face of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Hamas terrorists, Israel has acted, and will continue to act in accordance with international law. 

“Calls for an arms embargo on Israel are actually calls of support for the Hamas terrorist organization. Calls to stop intelligence sharing are calls to prevent the hostages being brought home.”

On Feb. 12, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell also suggested that the United States and other countries halt weapons shipments to Israel over allegations that “too many people are being killed” in the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Foreign Minister Katz, responding at the time to Borrell’s comments, said, “Minister Borrell, you don’t want to listen to anyone. We clarified and will clarify again. Israel acts according to the international laws of war and allows the Gazans to reach safe areas.”

In fact, he continued, “Israel cares more about the residents of Gaza than Hamas does. They prevent them from leaving. We permit it.” Calls to prevent the shipment of weapons to Israel “are actually calls to prevent Israel from destroying Hamas. It will not happen. We will destroy Hamas,” he said.

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