UN Rights Council to probe Israeli actions in Gaza
UN Human Rights Council adopts resolution harshly condemning Israel for 'grave' human rights violations against Palestinians; to send fact-finding mission to Strip
The UN Human Rights Council on Monday adopted a resolution condemning Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip and accusing it of "grave" human rights violations against Palestinians.
The resolution, setting up a fact-finding mission to investigate Israeli violations against Palestinians, was passed after a split opened up between Western countries and the others over the wording.
Thirty-three African, Asian, Arab and Latin American countries voted for the resolution. Thirteen European states abstained, while Canada was the only country to vote against.
The 47 member states in the UN's Human Rights Council normally take their decisions by consensus.
Some Western countries said the resolution put forward by Arab and African states was too one-sided and failed to clearly recognize the role that rocket attacks launched by Palestinian militants played in triggering the offensive.
The resolution released by the UN Council "strongly" condemned the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, saying it had "resulted in massive violations" of the human rights of Palestinians.
Last week, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Richard Falk accused Israel of committing "crimes against humanity" in the Gaza Strip and called "the International Criminal Court to investigate the situation, and determine whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law.”
Falk, Jewish, known as a particularly harsh critic of Israel, said during a press conference in Brazil that the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip that Israel has used sophisticated weaponry against the Palestinian community, against which the Palestinians are largely unable to protect themselves.
Falk, while condemning the rocket attacks by Hamas, which he points out are also criminal violations of international law, goes on to say that “such Palestinian behavior does not legalize Israel’s imposition of a collective punishment of a life- and health-threatening character on the people of Gaza, and should not distract the U.N. or international society from discharging their fundamental moral and legal duty to render protection to the Palestinian people.”
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