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Global condemnation for Jewish state over Gaza

Palestinian News
04 Jul 2015, 12:13 GMT+10

Israel stood condemned on Friday by the court of international opinion as a United Nations Human Rights Commission resolution slamming its war on Gaza last year was passed almost unanimously.

Only the United States voted against the UNHRC resolution. It says the resolution focused only on Israeli violations, however the text deplores violations by all parties to the conflict, without nominating either Israel or any of the militant groups that took part. It does however condemn Israel's refusal to cooperate with UN investigators, and its non-compliance with past UN resolutions.

1,462 Palestinian civilians, according to the UN, were killed in the war, while six Israeli civilians also died.

Between 800 and 900 Palestinian militants were killed, while the Israeli army lost sixty seven of its soldiers.

The Human Rights Council, through the resolution, did not spare any of the participants in the war. Without nominating sides it acknowledged "reports of serious human rights violations and grave breaches of international humanitarian law, including possible war crimes, including the findings of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, of the independent commission of inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict, and of the boards of inquiry convened by the Secretary-General."

The resolution condemned all violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law, and noted the Council was appalled at the widespread and unprecedented levels of destruction, death and human suffering caused.

The resolution stressed the urgency of achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967.

It deplored Israel's lack of cooperation with the independent commission of inquiry and its refusal to grant access to or to cooperate with international human rights bodies seeking to investigate alleged violations of international law in the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem,

The UN Council's report stressed its dismay at the lack of implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which it says follows a pattern of lack of implementation of recommendations made by United Nations mechanisms and bodies,

The resolution noted the Council is alarmed at long-standing systemic impunity for international law violations which has allowed for the recurrence of "grave violations without consequence," and stressed the need to ensure accountability for all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in order to end impunity, ensure justice, deter further violations, protect civilians and promote peace,

The Council acknowledged the accession by Palestine to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on 2 January this year and called upon all parties to cooperate fully with the preliminary examination of the International Criminal Court and with any subsequent investigation that may be opened.

Israel was quick to condemn the resolution and the Council. "The UN Human Rights Council is not interested in the facts and is not really interested in human rights," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday.

"On the day on which Israel was fired at from Sinai, and at a time when ISIS is committing vicious terrorist attacks in Egypt, as Assad slaughters his people in Syria and as the number of arbitrary executions per annum climbs in Iran the UN Human Rights Council decides to condemn the State of Israel for no fault of its own, for acting to defend itself from a murderous terrorist organisation."

The prime minister did not refer to a shooting earlier in the day of a Palestinian boy who was throwing stones at an Israeli check-point by a senior Israeli army officer. Mohammed Sami Al Ksbeh was shot in the head and chest after throwing stones at an army vehicle near Qalandiya, a major checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner confirmed an Israeli colonel, a brigade commander in the West Bank, had shot Ksbeh.

While there is a widespread presence of Israeli troops and military police throughout the West Bank, it is rare for a senior officer to be involved in a shooting incident, according to the UAE-based newspaper The National. The army said that the military police was investigating the shooting.

Meantime a defiant Mr Netanyahu asserted that Israel would take no notice of the resolution. "Israel is a stable democracy in the Middle East that upholds equal rights for all its citizens and acts in accordance with international law," he said. "Those who fear to openly attack terrorism will, in the end, be attacked by terrorism."

"The council that has hitherto adopted more decisions against Israel than against all other countries cannot call itself a human rights council," the Israeli prime minister said. "The State of Israel will continue to defend its citizens against those who call for its destruction and take daily action to achieve this goal."

The United States, the Jewish state's only supporter, defended its actions after the resolution was passed.

"We are troubled that this current resolution focuses exclusively on alleged Israeli violations, without any expressed reference to Palestinian violations," US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Keith Harper said Friday.

Member states of the European Union includingFrance, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Ireland however disagreed and voted in favour of the resolution.

Ethiopia, India, Paraguay, the Republic of Macedonia, Kenya were persuaded to abstain.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki welcomed the vote. "There is no path to justice and peace without accountability," Malki said.

"We will not accept that the repeated crimes by Israel against our people go unpunished," Malki said.

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