A United Nations rights expert issued a scathing report criticizing Israel’s policies Monday, just a few days after the world body withdrew a report that accused Israel of “apartheid” against Palestinians after U.S. and Israeli pressure.
In the report, Michael Lynk, the U.N. special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, charged Israel with “the subjugation of humanity” in Palestine and intensifying a crackdown on human rights campaigners.
Lynk made the claims in a report presented to the U.N. human rights council during the Geneva-based body’s mandated session on Israel, known as Agenda Item Seven. Israel is the only country targeted with a dedicated rights council agenda item.
He decried how Israel’s “illegal settlement enterprise has moved at an alarming pace” since Donald Trump assumed the U.S. presidency in January, calling the practice a “flagrant violation” of international law.
His report also pointed to how the illegal settlement building is accompanied by “high rates of demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”
Israel and its supporters, notably in Washington, have repeatedly highlighted Agenda Item Seven as evidence of the council’s credibility gap, arguing it cannot be effective while disproportionately targeting Israel.
The U.S. has taken those concerns to the next level, with its top diplomat Rex Tillerson publicly threatening to withdraw from the council over its “biased agenda item against Israel.”
The U.S. and Israel boycotted Monday’s session that saw a group of majority Muslim nations repeatedly denounce Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
Lynk’s scathing findings were issued days after U.N. official Rima Khalaf resigned over another report in which she accused Israel of being an “apartheid state.”
Khalaf, a Jordanian national, said she had resisted a request from U.N. chief Antonio Guterres to withdraw the report. She claimed that “powerful member states” had pressured the world body and its chief with “vicious attacks and threats.”
The Trump administration had demanded that the report by U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia be withdrawn and threatened cuts in funding to the world body.
However, as part of its obligations under the Israeli agenda item, Guterres’ office presented its latest findings to the council Monday.
“Chronic violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by all parties have persisted,” the secretary-general’s office said, condemning Israel over settlement expansion among other offenses.
Washington funds roughly a quarter of all U.N. activities but Trump’s initial budget proposal foresees significant reductions.
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