Home International UN Human Rights Council Votes to Investigate Israel for Gaza Protest Deaths

UN Human Rights Council Votes to Investigate Israel for Gaza Protest Deaths

The Human Rights Council of the United Nations yesterday approved the creation of an international commission to investigate the death of more than a hundred Palestinians in the protests on the Gaza border, which also resulted in thousands of wounded by gunfire from soldiers Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu replied in a statement that the UN Council “has shown once again to be a hypocritical body whose objective is to harm Israel and support terrorism.” The resolution was approved by 29 votes in favor, two against (USA and Australia) and 14 abstentions.

The independent international commission will have as its mission to investigate the alleged human rights violations committed during the massive demonstrations before the fence separating the Strip, which have been carried out since March 30 last.

The mobilizations to demand the right of return of Palestinian refugees to the places they had to leave 70 years ago after the birth of Israel reached its maximum intensity on Monday with the death of 60 demonstrators – coinciding with the opening of the Embassy of United States, transferred from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a controversial decision of President Donald Trump.

The Human Rights Council demands that Israel against its usual veto – collaborate with the commission of inquiry and authorize the entry of its members across its borders, as well as those it controls in the Palestinian territories. All accesses are in the hands of the Hebrew Army, except for the passage of Refah between Gaza and Egypt. Among other objectives, investigators must identify those responsible for alleged crimes against humanity.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of the Palestinians, the Canadian Michael Lynk, described the events on the Gaza border as “deliberate killings” and “war crimes” attributable to the International Criminal Court. Lynk blamed the outbreak of violence on Israel’s military blockade of the two million inhabitants of the Palestinian enclave since 2007.

The Israeli ambassador to the UN headquarters in Geneva, Aviva Raz Shechter, denied any responsibility of her government and claimed that her country “only defends itself, as any other State would do” in the face of aggression organized by Hamas. The diplomatic representative accused the Palestinian Islamist movement that has governed Gaza for more than a decade of “using its population as human shields.” This thesis was firmly supported by the United States at the session held at the United Nations campus of the Swiss city.

“The [Israeli] occupation must end so that the people of Palestine can be liberated,” warned the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jordanian Zeid Raad al Hussein. “They have been killed by gunshots by unarmed people in peaceful demonstrations,” he concluded.

The Israeli Prime Minister rejected the resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council. “We will continue to protect our citizens against terrorism in the exercise of the right of self-defense,” Netanyahu said.

“The purpose of the Council is not to investigate the truth, but to violate Israel’s right to self-defense and demonize the Jewish state,” said a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry. “Israel acts legally in the protection of its sovereignty and the prevention of a mass assault on the border to carry out terrorist attacks directed by the terrorist organization Hamas,” the same source added.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of protesters protested in Istanbul yesterday against the death of Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza shortly before the start of an urgent meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) convened by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Turkish leader compared the actions of the Israeli army against the Palestinians in Gaza with the persecution suffered by the Jews during the Second World War. “What Israel does is state terrorism,” President Erdogan accused at the opening of the Muslim summit.

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