Western nations on Monday refused to participate in the Agenda Item 7 debate at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. The debate is a permanent agenda item that mandates discussion of any possible Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians.
Agenda Item 7 is debated three times a year. For the last three years, Israel has been asking countries to boycott the debate on the agenda item. In the past, some Western states have participated in the debate, including a few European nations, but this time those countries opted out. The United States has always boycotted the Agenda Item 7 debate.
Pakistan’s deputy representative to the U.N., Aamar Aftab Qureshi, urged “all member states to actively participate in Agenda Item 7,” adding that the UNHRC’s credibility was undermined by Western nations’ absence.
The U.N.’s 54-member regional African Group spoke out against Israel during Monday’s debate, citing alleged violations of Palestinian rights. At the same time, Israel’s government is set to approve a NIS 50 million ($13 million) package to improve economic ties with Africa ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to that continent next week.