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U.N. cancels appearance by Hamas leader in Geneva

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(JTA) — The United Nations canceled an appearance by a Hamas leader at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The cancellation Monday of an appearance by Ismail al-Ashqar, a senior official with Hamas, followed an official complaint filed with U.N. officials by Israeli Ambassador Aharon Leshno-Yaar. Also, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the appearance in a statement following an attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France.

Al-Ashqar was barred from entering the Human Rights Council meeting and was asked to leave the U.N. compound in Geneva, according to Haaretz.

"I haven’t heard yet a condemnation from any of the U.N .bodies, but I have heard that one such body, the U.N. Human Rights Council, invited on this very day a senior representative of Hamas," Netanyahu had said prior to the U.N. canceling the appearance. "On this day when we had the savage murder, they chose to invite a member of Hamas."

Netanyahu said that al-Ashqar had condemned the United States for killing al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, "and he represents an organization that indiscriminately targets children and grownups, and women and men. Innocents is their special favorite target.

"So I have one thing to say to the U.N. Human Rights Council: What do you have to do with human rights?" the Israeli leader said. "You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

The Human Rights Council on Monday as part of its 19th session was scheduled to consider five resolutions on Israel and the Palestinians, including four resolutions submitted by Palestine though no such state exists, The Jerusalem Post reported.

One resolution asks the council to appoint an international fact-finding committee to investigate West Bank settlements and their impact on Palestinian life. 
 

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