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Israel defends record on Palestinians

Relatives waited behind a fence for long-serving Palestinian prisoners to be released by Israeli authorities at Erez point in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

Relatives waited behind a fence for long-serving Palestinian prisoners to be released by Israeli authorities at Erez point in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

GENEVA — Israel defended its treatment of Palestinians and others on the world stage Tuesday, resuming a relationship it broke off more than a year ago with the UN’s top human rights body.

The appearance by Deputy Attorney General Shai Nitzan and UN Ambassador Eviatar Manor before the UN’s Human Rights Council marked the first time Israel has participated in the body in more than a year.

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Nitzan said Israel is again ‘‘open to constructive criticism’’ from a forum that it has long believed has an anti-Israel bias reflected in a disproportionate focus on the Jewish state’s policy toward the Palestinians.

Each of the UN’s 193 member nations must submit to a review of its human rights record by the Geneva-based council once every four years. But because the council is less than a decade old, the second cycle of reviews for all nations is not yet complete.

Manor began the session by calling attention to an impending release of a set of Palestinian prisoners that coincides with the day of the review. The 26 prisoners had been convicted of killing Israelis between 1984 and 1994; most were serving life sentences.

Israel was supposed to have its second UN human rights review nine months ago, but it did not participate because it cut working relations with the council over its intention to launch an investigation into Jewish West Bank settlements.

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