United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined Western nations on Wednesday in criticizing the world body's own Human Rights Council for "picking on Israel" as part of an agreement on its working rules.
The European Union, Canada and the United States have already attacked the deal reached in Geneva on Monday under which Israel's actions would become a permanent item on the Human Rights Council's agenda.
A UN statement said: "The Secretary-General is disappointed at the council's decision to single out only one specific regional item given the range and scope of allegations of human rights violations throughout the world."
The statement did not mention Israel or the Palestinian Authority by name.
The 47-nation council was set up by the General Assembly last year to try to improve the UN's image on human rights. It replaced a commission that had been widely criticized for ignoring rights violations in some developing countries.
Alejandro Wolff, deputy U.S. permanent representative at the United Nations, accused the council of "a pathological obsession with Israel" and also denounced its action on Cuba and Belarus. "I think the record is starting to speak for itself," he told journalists.
The Geneva meeting aroused further controversy after Cuba and Belarus, both accused of abuses, were removed from a list of nine special mandates, which included North Korea, Cambodia and Sudan, carried forward from the defunct commission.
The council's charter preserves the watchdog's right to appoint special investigators for countries whose human rights records are of particular concern, something many developing states have long opposed.