The bipartisan group of 42 staunchly pro-Israel congress members – led by New Jersey Democrat Josh Gottheimer and Missouri Republican Vicky Hartzler – claimed in a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the probe into the Israeli war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories reflected a “continued broader bias against Israel,” further demanding that the UN should focus its attention elsewhere.
“Please know that while Congress may be divided on the Administration’s decision to rejoin the [UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)], we stand united in urging you to act upon the Administration’s commitment to defend Israel from discriminatory treatment at the Human Rights Council and throughout the UN system,” the letter read as cited in a Friday report by the UK-based Middle East Eye.
The official letter falsely alleges that UNHRC’s mandate is “designed to accelerate the political, economic, and legal challenges to Israel and undermine its legitimacy by pressuring international legal institutions to take action against Israeli leaders.”
The authors of the letter – who are among many US lawmakers that receive financial and political support from the powerful Israeli lobby in the country – also expressed concerns that the commission’s probe into the Israeli regime’s May 2021 aggression against Gaza would further allow for future investigations into “any allegations against Israel in the past or in the future, whether in the West Bank or Gaza or in all of Jerusalem, and even within the recognized pre-1967 borders of” Israel.
Last year, UNHRC agreed to launch a probe into the widely reported Israeli atrocities during the onslaught with a broad mandate to look into all violations the Israeli military had committed against Palestinians following its May offensive on the densely populated Gaza, which killed at least 248 Palestinians, including more than 60 children.
The investigators, who have been tasked with trying to identify those responsible for violations with a view to ensure they are held accountable, are due to release their first report next June.
The Biden administration has formally and publicly opposed the investigative commission since its creation and voted to entirely defund it last month, according to the letter.
The US rejoined the UNHRC in February 2021 after former president Donald Trump withdrew from the organization. Still, the Biden administration has claimed that the council is “flawed” in its criticism of the Israeli regime.
“The US stands with Israel in rejecting the unprecedented open-ended mandate of this Commission of Inquiry, which perpetuates a practice of unfairly singling out Israel in the UN,” said Washington’s Permanent UN Representative Patrick Kennedy at the time.