There are human rights violators, and then there is Israel. The U.K. Foreign office has released its report on the world’s 26 worst human rights violators. Here’s the intro:
This section of the report refers to the 26 countries where we have some of the most serious wide-ranging human rights concerns. When deciding on which countries to include, we also considered whether the country had been the target of a high level of UK engagement on human rights in 2010, and whether it would be likely to effect positive change in the wider region if its human rights record improved.
And here is the list of the 26 worst violators of human rights that the U.K. feels fit to chastise. One of these things is not like the other. See if you can figure out which country among all of these is the one with a democratic system, the rule of law, a court system that consistently stops the armed forces and police from violating detainee human rights, and where there is full recourse to claims of human rights violations.
Afghanistan, Belarus, Burma, Chad, China, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the OPTs, Libya, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe
But that doesn’t matter to the U.K. Because in the Brits’ eyes, Israel is side-by-side with Syria and North Korea in the violation of human rights.
Here’s an example of the priorities of the U.K.’s human rights team. Note the order in which the U.K. puts human rights violations that concern them in Israel.
The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the occupation of Palestinian territory, remain the chief source of human rights violations. This includes settlements and settler violence; demolitions and evictions; the Israeli separation barrier; movement and access restrictions; rocket and missile fire; hostage-taking; and the current situation in Gaza.
“The current situation in Gaza”? Does that mean the U.K. is concerned about the lack of human rights, democracy, and women’s rights in Gaza?
The situation in Gaza continued to cause concern and was high on William Hague’s agenda during his visit to Israel and the OPTs in November. While we welcomed the Israeli announcement on 20 June to ease restrictions on access, we have pressed Israel for swift implementation of these measures. The move from a list of permitted items to a list of banned and dual-use items,which resulted in an increase in the variety and volume of goods entering Gaza, was welcome, as was Israel’s December statement that it would allow some exports. However, the approvals process for dual-use items used in UN reconstruction projects is slow and the economy in Gaza remains stagnant. It is important that these measures are now fully implemented so that there can be real change on the ground. We are working closely with the UN, the Office of the Quartet Representative and the EU to coordinate the international community’s continued involvement in seeking to relieve the situation in Gaza.
When we finally do get to the rocket attacks on civilians, this is all there is:
According to the Israeli Defence Force, during 2010, 248 rockets and mortars had been fired at Israel. The Israeli Defence Force notes that 2010 saw the lowest number of rocket attacks since 2002. However, this is small comfort to those at the receiving end and we continue to condemn all rocket attacks. Such acts of terrorism are indiscriminate and target civilian populations. We were concerned that towards the end of 2010 rocket attacks began to increase. We call for a halt to all such attacks, urge Israel to exercise restraint in its response, and call on all parties to respect the ceasefire that brought to an end the 2009 conflict in Gaza.
There is a section devoted to Hamas’ frequent human rights violations against its own people, but it is miniscule, and it comes at the very end. Three of the six paragraphs devoted to the crimes of the Hamas government include William Hague’s call for Gilad Shalit’s release he issued on the fourth anniversary of Shalit’s capture. As for the PA, every time the U.K. documented Fatah’s transgressions against its own people, it was followed by how the U.K. sponsored “leadership” training to stop the PA from beating people who disagree with it. Good show, chaps! Now, when they beat their own people, they’ll know that it’s wrong.
According to the U.K. Foreign Office , rocket fire aimed at Israeli cities and towns is of small import when compared to the detention of three Hamas legislators in Jerusalem. Or the rights of Bedouins to build towns illegally. Or the separation barrier. Or the stubbed toes of the everyday Gazan who isn’t getting his food, water, and electricity gratis from Israel. My, what a balanced report on human rights violations. Israel, alongside 25 actual human rights violators, given equal billing, on the most spurious of charges.
Demonization? Check. Double Standards? Check. Delegitimization? Check. It’s Natan Sharansky’s 3D Test of Anti-Semitism. The British Foreign Office? Fail.