16:55 GMT04 July 2020
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    Israel came under fire during a UN Human Rights session on Tuesday, with the South African delegate calling it an "apartheid" state that fails to abide by international human rights laws. Speaking to Sputnik, Mark Heller, principal research associate at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, has given his take on the matter.

    Sputnik: Why does Israel constantly take a beating in the UN? Why are the UN members so prejudiced against Israel and attacking Israel when their meetings commence?

    Mark Heller: If one takes a look at the historical makeup and composition of the Council, which by the way succeeds the UN Human Rights Commission, which was disbanded several years ago for its hypocrisy and corruption, one sees that a significant number of the members there are not particularly representative of particularly representative governments, and this seems to be a gratuitous case of the pot calling the kettle black. I think that if people like to distract attention to another target they think they may distract attention away from themselves. Also, it’s cheap rhetoric. There’s no cost to it.

    Sputnik: How productive then in your view is this approach taken by the Council anyway? Does it help to solve anything? How relevant is the UN nowadays if this approach is being allowed to continue?

    Mark Heller: Well I don’t know if one can generalize about the UN in its entirety, because there are unquestionably some organs and bodies of the United Nations which fulfill a productive purpose, but I think one can specifically say about the so-called UN Human Rights Council: when I think more generally about anything which has to do with the United Nations’ treatment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one could probably summarize their contribution to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in one word – nothing.

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    Sputnik: In view of the recent controversy surrounding Jerusalem and, obviously, the moving of the capital to Jerusalem, how are things settling down after the move of the capital announced by President Trump? Is the international community coming to terms with it now? Are things generally calming down now?

    Mark Heller: I don’t know if one could say "calming down," it depends on about whom one is speaking. Of course, the Palestinians continue to be mightily aroused and interested in kind of using the resentment of this American move for purposes of political mobilization. Other parties’ response, even of some Arab countries was perhaps a bit more pro-form than genuine. It hadn’t really interfered with their willingness or ability to continue mutually beneficial relations with the United States, or even with Israel for that matter. I think people pay a bit too much attention to words.

    The views and opinions expressed by Mark Heller are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    apartheid, accusations, human rights, UN Human Rights Council, UN, Israel, South Africa, Geneva
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