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UN Human Rights Commission Votes 23-3 to Indict Israel

February 16, 1977
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The United Nations Human Rights Commission voted 23-3 today to accept a multi-count indictment of Israel charging it with all manner of violations of human rights in the occupied Arab territories. The document called on all states, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize changes carried out by Israel in the territories and requested the UN Secretary General to bring the indictment resolution to the attention of all governments, UN organizations and agencies.

Only the United States, Canada and Costa Rica voted against the resolution. Six countries abstained, including Britain and the other Western European nations. the chief U.S. delegate, Allard Lowenstein, said the resolution was based on unproven allegations and that its text seemed to question Israel’s right to exist by referring to Palestine as part of the occupied territories.

Israel’s observer at the Human Rights Commission conference, Ambassador Theodor Meron, denounced the resolution as “a shameful document, a structure of lies and half-truths.” The resolution was presented to the 32-member Human Rights Commission by eight member states, none of which has diplomatic relations with Israel.

Among the accusations leveled against Israel were: the torture and ill-treatment of persons under detention and the violation of the relevant provisions of the Geneva conventions; the confiscation, expropriation of Arab property by Israeli authorities and individuals; the exploitation of human and natural resources; the denial to the population of the occupied Arab territories of their rights to national education and cultural life; interference with religious freedom and practices; promulgation of discriminatory economic legislation; and the pillaging of archaeological and cultural property.

The resolution demanded that Israel rescind all measures taken to change the physical character, demographic composition or status of the occupied territories and that it release all Arabs detained or imprisoned “as a result of their struggle for self-determination and the liberation of their territories.”

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