Occupied Jerusalem (The Inside Palestine)-Muna El-Kurd, an activist and journalist from the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood Sheikh Jarrah was forced out of a special session of the UN Human Rights Council after she criticized ‘lies’ by Israel’s UN ambassador.
On Thursday, a special session of the UN Human Rights Council, called at the request of Pakistan – on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation – and Palestine, was held.
Of the various speakers to address the council’s session was Muna El-Kurd from the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where a number of families are facing imminent forced displacement from their own homes.
At the session, Muna called the UN to stop Israel’s ethnic cleansing in the Sheikh Jarrah and in Palestine.
“We don’t want just your concern, we want you to stop this ethnic cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah and in Palestine,” she said.
She went on to describe the imminent forced displacement Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, including her family, are facing.
Half of El-Kurd’s own home was taken over by Israeli settlers in 2009, in what she said was a systematic collusion between the Israeli occupation government and settler organisations.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet opened the session in which she voiced deep concern over Israel’s recent aggression on the Gaza Strip which she said they might constitute “war crimes”, and that she had seen no evidence that civilian buildings targeted and bombed by Israeli forces were being used for military purposes.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Meira Eilon Shahar was also among the speakers.
El-Kurd said she didn’t know that there would be an Israeli ambassador. She said if she knew, she wouldn’t attend or speak at the session.
Israel’s ambassador accused many countries at the session of presenting a moral equivalence between Israel and the Hamas movement.
She said the U.N. council was biased against Israel.
“Since the council’s inception, 30 percent of all special sessions have targeted Israel,” Shahar said.
“Instead of the council being a moral voice, unequivocally stating that Israel has the right to defend itself and condemning Hamas for the terrorist activities, we have witnessed a ritual where Israel is targeted and singled out. It does not matter what are the facts and what is the reality on the ground.”
El-Kurd said she wanted to reply to what she described as the “lies” of the ambassador, but she said “If I reply to what the ambassador claimed at the session, they will force me out of the session.”
So, El-Kurd posted a comment publicly, in which she said, “I want to tell the PM of ‘Israel’ that you are the terrorists, you are the ones who attack and bomb civilians and civilian buildings, and you are ones who attack our lands in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, and you steal them from us. Stop playing the role of the victim. All the world today knows your ugly reality. Save your face and get out of our land.”
However, Eric Tistounet, who is in charge of the HRC in the Secretariat, sent a message to El-Kurd, and told her, “That the practices of the Council totally prevent anyone from posting comments of this nature on the chat room. The only comments which are allowed are related to technical or procedural matters. If you can please delete your comment at once. If not, please refrain from posting any other comment.”
El-Kurd said after two minutes, they removed her from the session as she refused to delete her comment.
At the session, the council was debating a draft resolution to launch a broad, international investigation into violations surrounding the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza, but also of “systematic” abuses in the Palestinian territories and inside the occupied territories.
The 11-day aggression on the Gaza Strip, which began on May 10, killed at least 253 Palestinians, including 66 children, and wounded more than 1,900 people, according to the health ministry in Gaza.