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According to Reuters it was to be the first of Barack Obama’s “punishments” directed toward Israel.

The United States did not take the floor at the main UN human rights forum in Geneva on Monday during the annual debate on alleged Israeli violations committed in the Palestinian territories.

The move at the 47-member state forum follows signals that the Obama administration is undertaking a “reassessment” of relations with Israel.

The report was false, it is true the US did not take the floor, but it was part of a coordinated action between the US and Israel. Israel had asked its friends in the Council not to appear during debate of the Agenda Item, in order to boycott the issue.

In fact Keith Harper, the U.S. Ambassador to the Human Rights Council issued the following statement after the meeting:

Today the United States, in support of Israel, made no statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council debate on alleged Israeli violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories, otherwise known as Item 7. Our non-participation in this debate underscores our position that Item 7 lacks legitimacy, as it did last year when we also refrained from speaking. The United States strongly and unequivocally opposes the very existence of Agenda Item 7 and any HRC resolutions that come from it.

The United States’ approach to the Human Rights Council’s Item 7 has not changed.

We remain deeply troubled, by this Council’s stand-alone agenda item directed against Israel, and by the many repetitive and one-sided resolutions under that agenda item.

No other nation has an entire agenda item set aside to deal with it.

As was the case last year, the United States will not engage in the debate. Neither will Israel.

Instead, we will call a vote, and vote no on Item 7 resolutions.

After which, the United States will make a statement explaining our consistent approach in opposition to Item 7.

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