Under US Pressure, Israel Supports UN Text Condemning China’s Abuses
i24 News – Israel on Tuesday signed a statement presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council urging China to allow “immediate, meaningful and unhindered access” to independent observers, so that they can travel to the western region of Xinjiang, where Beijing is accused of brutally cracking down on Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities.
Jerusalem’s decision to back the move came under pressure from the administration of US President Joe Biden, Walla News reported, marking a radical policy shift from Israel’s previous attempts to mend its relations with the two superpowers.
The text, presented by Canada and supported by 41 predominantly Western countries, echoes concerns about detention centers in Xinjiang, where hundreds of thousands of Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities are held.
“We urge China to allow immediate, meaningful and unhindered access to Xinjiang for independent observers, including the High Commissioner,” Canadian Ambassador to the UN Leslie Norton said, referring to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.
Norton cited “credible reports” that more than 1 million people are being arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang, and that some are subjected to torture and other “inhuman” treatment.
China denies mistreating Uyghurs, explaining that it simply operates vocational training centers designed to counter extremism.
Israel, which considers China one of its most important trading partners, has not officially explained its support for UNHCR’s appeal, in an apparent attempt to keep a low profile and avoid Beijing’s wrath.
Israel’s new government is seeking close ties with the Biden administration, which protected Israel at the UN Security Council during the war on Gaza in May.