03:12 GMT06 March 2021
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    On Monday, the United Nations elected Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon to chair the Legal Committee, a group that oversees fidelity to international law. This decision sparked outrage from Arab and Palestinian leaders, who say it’s hypocritical for Israel to chair an international law committee while actively committing humans rights violations.

    Danon was elected by secret ballot, winning 109 from the 193 member states, and is the first time Israel will chair this permanent committee in the UN’s 71-year history. 

    "It is ironic that Israel, a state that continues to breach international law and conventions, international humanitarian law and countless UN resolutions, is being nominated to head a legal committee that aims to promote international law and protect basic human rights and freedoms," Hanan Ashrawi, member of the executive committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), said in a statement. 

    She likened Dahon’s election to "asking the wolf to guard the sheep." 

    In January, UN special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights Makarim Wibisono resigned his post after being repeatedly denied access to certain territories by the Israeli government. Wibisono voiced "deep concern at the lack of effective protection of Palestinian victims of continuing human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law." 

     Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon defended Israel’s decision.

    "Israeli human rights are violated too, every day, by Palestinians and until ignoring this ends the council will not be taken seriously as a body that respects human rights," he said.

    Danon’s election is being viewed as the latest in a series of questionable actions for the UN as of late. It was recently revealed that Saudi Arabia removed itself from a UN list of human rights violators by threatening to withdraw $100 million in funds.

    Danny Danon
    © AP Photo / Dan Balilty
    Danny Danon


    The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) released a report called "Fragmented Lives" detailing humans rights issues in occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). 

    "In 2015, the major drivers of humanitarian vulnerability in the oPt remained unchanged and were directly linked to Israel’s protracted occupation, now approaching its 50th year. The situation continued to be characterized by violations of international humanitarian law by all parties, the systematic denial of Palestinian rights and continuing conflict, punctuated by frequent outbreaks of violence…

    "These conditions continued to cause a protracted protection crisis with humanitarian consequences, where Palestinians face a range of threats that undermine their ability to live self-sustaining lives and prevent the enjoyment of their rights, including the right to self-determination."


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