RAMALLAH, March 1 (JMCC) - Angered by comments made by the US secretary of state, the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Council walked out in protest during Monday's meeting in Geneva.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at length about the need to protect the rights of demonstrators in Libya and other countries in the Arab world where unrest has exploded in recent weeks.
At the end of her presentation, however, Clinton criticized the human rights body for focusing on Israel
, prompting Palestinians to get up and leave the room.
The thing that annoyed and disappointed us was her request from the UNHRC to remove item number seven which deals with human rights conditions in the occupied territories, said Ibrahim Khreisheh, delegate to the human rights council in an interview with Voice of Palestine radio.
This new US attempt to protect Israel blindly, particularly after the
US veto in the UN security council - human rights are universal, but
are they no longer viewed this way when it comes to Palestinians? said
this continuous desperate defense of Israeli practices?
Monday's dust-up follows Palestinian anger at the US for using its veto in the United Nations security council to prevent passage of a resolution condemning Israeli settlements
. The motion was defeated despite support from the 14 other member states in the security council.
US president Barack Obama reportedly called the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas
, to ask him to pull the resolution from a vote. But Palestinians went ahead with the motion in a rare sign of independence from US policy.
Palestinian leaders then called for demonstrations in the West Bank
to protest the US veto.
This new posture by Palestinians is vastly different from that in 2009, for example, when Palestinians appear to have bowed to Washington's request to stall a vote on a UN fact-finding report that found evidence of war crimes in Israel's 2008-09 operation
in the Gaza Strip
Khreisheh himself oversaw that decision and may be trying to regain some credibility by taking a strong position against the US now, analysts said.
But it is also a sign of how Palestinians are being affected by the wave of pro-democracy protests sweeping the Arab world.
You have to read this from the wider picture, analyst Mahdi Abdel Hadi said. The second Arab awakening is people by themselves bringing down walls of fear, and rising up to claim their dignity. Palestinians are not an exception to this.