Israel will not boycott UN human rights council

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TEL AVIV, Israel — Israel said Sunday that it would attend a United Nations review of its human rights record next week in Geneva.

On Jan. 29, Israel became the first country to boycott a review in protest at what it said was bias at the UN Human Rights Council, which often criticizes its policies toward the Palestinians.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor did not say whether the decision to attend the review was reached after Israel secured concessions from "friendly countries." The review at the 47-member council will take place Tuesday.

The left-leaning newspaper Haaretz said Israel wanted to limit the use of the council's Article 7, which stipulates that every conference must include a separate discussion of the Jewish state's human rights record -- a requirement made of no other UN member.

The newspaper added that German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle had sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning him that boycotting the review would inflict "severe diplomatic damage" on Israel.

UN member states periodically undergo human rights reviews. The West is worried that Israel's refusal to attend would have encouraged other nations to do the same.