Israel weighs ban on UN human rights council probe
JERUSALEM - The Associated Press
A Palestinian protester confronts an Israeli soldier during a protest after Palestinians and peace activists were prevented by Israeli troops from reaching Palestinian lands in the West Bank village of Beit Omar near the Jewish settlement of Karmei Tzur on March 24, 2012. AFP PHOTO / HAZEM BADERIsraeli Cabinet ministers were in an uproar Sunday over the U.N. Human Rights Council's plan to investigate Israeli settlement in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, and some urged that the panel be banned from entering Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Israel's Security Cabinet, made up of senior ministers, was set to meet later Sunday to discuss the planned visit, an official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the meeting's agenda was classified.
Last week the U.N. council voted to send a fact-finding team to investigate Israeli settlement construction in a resolution that also condemned such activity. It was one of five resolutions critical of Israel passed on the same day.
Israel accuses the council of having a pronounced anti-Israel bias because of its disproportionate focus on Israeli policy and actions toward the Palestinians, while it ignores human rights abuses in countries such as Iran and Arab nations.
"It's clear the Palestinians are preparing a Goldstone 2 (report)," Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who wants the council banned, told Israel Radio on Sunday.
Ayalon was referring to a U.N.-commissioned report by South African jurist Richard Goldstone about Israel's war in the Gaza Strip three years ago, aimed at stopping daily rocket attacks.
Its allegation that Israeli forces intentionally fired at Palestinian civilians triggered outrage in Israel and widespread condemnation of its wartime conduct. Goldstone later retracted that accusation.
The Israeli official said Cabinet ministers would also discuss how to respond to this week's planned marches toward Israel's borders announced by pro-Palestinian activists in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. The plans have touched off jitters in Israel because last May, thousands of Arab protesters took Israel by surprise marching on its frontiers, sparking clashes that killed at least 15.
March 30 marks Land Day, a traditional day of protests by Arab-Israelis and Palestinians against the Israeli confiscation of Arab land.