By Fatih Erel
The U.S. on Monday boycotted a UN Human Rights Council session on Palestine and other Arab occupied territories, claiming it was biased against Israel.
"The United States will vote against every resolution put forth under this agenda item and is encouraging other countries to do the same," U.S. State Department Acting Spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.
Toner said it did not “suit the interests of the Council to single out one country in an unbalanced manner”.
The United Nations last Wednesday accused Israel of imposing an “apartheid regime” on the Palestinian people -- the first time a UN agency had leveled such an allegation.
However, Toner’s statement accused the body of “long-standing bias against Israel”.
"No other nation has an entire agenda item dedicated to it at the Council. The continued existence of this agenda item is among the largest threats to the credibility of the Council," Toner added.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the area in 1980, claiming it -- along with West Jerusalem -- as the “unified” capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.
International law views the West Bank as "occupied territory" -- including East Jerusalem -- and considers all Jewish settlement-building on the land to be illegal.