GENEVA - The new UN Human Rights Council said it will hold a third special
session Wednesday on Israel, focusing on alleged rights abuses in Gaza.
The council, created earlier this
year to replace the highly politicized and much-maligned UN Human Rights
Commission, has drawn fire from the United States for spending a great deal of
time criticizing Israel. The US is not a member of the body.
US President George W. Bush (R)
listens to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as they take a few questions
from the press after their Oval Office meeting at the White House in
Washington, DC. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Israel and the US had
"complete understanding" on Iran as President George W. Bush threatened to
isolate Tehran unless it suspends its nuclear program. [AFP]
This week's meeting in Geneva was requested by Bahrain and Pakistan on behalf
of Arab and Muslim groups "to consider and take action on the gross human rights
violations emanating from Israeli military incursions" in Gaza, the council said
in a statement on Monday.
Israeli artillery killed 19 civilians Wednesday in the northern Gaza town of
Beit Hanoun amid an offensive meant to halt militant rocket attacks on Israel.
The United States vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution Saturday that
sought to condemn Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip and demand
Israeli troops pull out of the territory. US Ambassador John Bolton said the
Arab-backed draft resolution was "biased against Israel and politically
The UN top rights watchdog, which took over from the former Human Rights
Commission in June, held two special sessions this summer to discuss an earlier
Israeli offensive in Gaza and the Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon.
US officials say the council has made a slow and discouraging start and says
it serves as a forum for political games.