The UN Security Council’s monthly meeting on the situation in the Middle East is usually an Israel-hate-fest, but on Thursday, Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador, urged the council to focus on human rights violators instead, most notably, Iran.
“In case after case, human rights violations and abuses are not merely the incidental byproduct of conflict,” Ms. Haley said at the session. “They are the trigger for conflict.”
Haley drew the council’s attention to egregious violators: North Korea, Cuba and Syria.
“Every month the Security Council convenes a meeting on the Middle East. We have lots of meetings on specific countries and conflicts in this region but this debate is our opportunity to talk about the Middle East as a whole. Regrettably, these monthly meetings routinely turn into Israel-bashing sessions. That’s the way the Security Council has operated for years. It’s a formula that is absurdly biased against one country. It’s a formula that is painfully narrow in its description of the conflicts in the region,” said Haley. The US ambassador is currently serving as president of the Security Council for one month.
“Iran is using Hezbollah to expand its regional aspirations. That is a threat that should be dominating our discussions at the Security Council,” she said, blaming Iran for troubles in Syria and Yemen. She noted the close ties between Iran and the terror group Hezbollah.
“Hezbollah, a terrorist organization, uses towns to shield… tens of thousands of illegal rockets,” Haley said.
Haley’s comments were praised by the Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon when he addressed the council.
“Where there is terror, where there is death, there is Iran. Teheran is an accomplice in the atrocities taking place every single day in Syria,” Danon said. “The Iranian proxy Hezbollah places its weapons in homes, mosques and hospitals in Lebanon, and in Gaza, Hamas has spent millions of Iranian dollars on rockets, guns and digging terror tunnels,” he said, noting that Israel is especially the focus of Iranian agression.
“[Iranian missile tests]are in direct defiance this Council,” Danon said. “The Iranians have not hidden their intentions. Just two days ago they wrote on one of their missiles: ‘Death to Israel.’”
The Palestinian Permanent Observer to the UN Riyad Mansour attempted to sidetrack Haley and return the council to its usual negative focus on Israel.
“The Palestinian-Israel conflict is about the denial of a people’s unalienable right to freedom,” Mansour said. “It is not a conflict arising out of incitement for terror.”
Haley’s efforts were only partially successful as France, Russia, and Sweden spent the majority of the meeting speaking about the “Israeli occupation”. Russia is a close ally of Iran and, like the US, has veto power on the Security Council.