The UN Human Rights Council cites Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories as the main reason for the ongoing Middle East conflict. “Ending the occupation” is “essential to ending the ongoing cycle of violence,” according to a report released on Tuesday by experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. There is “clear evidence” that Israel has “no intention” to do so. Israel’s foreign ministry has slammed the UN investigation as a “witch hunt.”

The 18-page report was based on previous UN reports, investigations and decisions. In the past, recommendations by the United Nations have been overwhelmingly “anti-Israel,” said former UN human rights chief Navi Pillay. This is an “indicator of the asymmetrical nature of the conflict and the reality in which one state occupies the other,” said the South African.

According to Pillay, the experts found in their investigation that Israel had “not implemented” the previous UN recommendations. This omission, a “sense of impunity, clear evidence that Israel has no intention of ending the occupation, and ongoing discrimination against Palestinians” are at the center of the systematic recurrence of (human rights) violations, both in the occupied Palestinian territories , including East Jerusalem, as well as in Israel”.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry sharply criticized the UN experts’ investigation. The report was “one-sided” and “tainted with hatred of the State of Israel”. He bases himself on a “long series of previous one-sided and tendentious reports”.

Dozens of Israelis, including reservists and students, protested against the UN report on Tuesday in front of the headquarters of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Some of the demonstrators dressed as a sign of protest like fighters from the radical Islamic group Hamas.

Israel has long accused the UN Human Rights Council of having an anti-Israel stance. This can be seen, among other things, from the fact that Israel is the only country that is discussed as part of a separate agenda item at every regular meeting of the body.