Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday charged the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva with supporting terrorism by launching a war-crimes investigation of Israeli actions on the Gaza border.
“There is nothing new under the sun. An organization that calls itself a council for human rights has once again proven that it is hypocritical and biased [and its] purpose is to harm Israel and support terror,” Netanyahu said.
“Israel completely rejects the resolution that was adopted by an automatic anti-Israel majority whose results were known from the start. Israel will continue to defend its citizens and soldiers as it has the right to defend itself.”
The prime minister spoke just after the 47-member UNHRC voted 29-2, with 14 abstentions and two absences, to launch a commission of inquiry into Israel and its treatment of Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
However, it intends to focus on the IDF’s killing of 102 Palestinian protesters during riots along the Gaza-Israel border over the last seven weeks. The resolution spoke of investigating all parties involved in the violence.
Israel was the only party specifically condemned in the resolution.
The US and Australia were the only two countries to vote against the resolution, which passed with only a slim majority. The countries which abstained included: Croatia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Kenya, Panama, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Slovakia, Switzerland, Togo and the United Kingdom.
Ukraine and Mongolia were not present at the time of the vote.
Supporters of the resolution characterized the Palestinians along the border as peaceful protesters and attacked Israel’s right to defend its southern border with Gaza, even though the border is internationally recognized.
In a more than six-hour heated debate, dozens of countries charged the IDF had used disproportionate force and some spoke of the “massacre” of Palestinians.
The speakers did not take into account the acts of violence by some of the protesters that included lobbing Molotov cocktails towards soldiers, launching flaming kites into Israel and attempting to infiltrate the border.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Aviva Raz Shechter charged, “The council served for hours as a floor for incitement and spreading lies against Israel... Despite the facts presented to you, you chose to reward Hamas’s terror. You preferred to support the Palestinians’ delegitimization effort rather than constructive dialogue with Israel,” Shechter said.
“This resolution is void of any sense, and deserves nothing less.”
THE US said the UNHRC was “blatantly taking sides and ignoring the real culprit for the recent outbreak of violence – the terrorist organization Hamas. Hamas has even admitted its involvement in the violence when a Hamas official proudly announced that 50 of the 62 killed were members of Hamas.
“The United States affirms Israel’s right to defend itself. We also condemn in the strongest terms actions by Hamas and other militant groups.”
It gave as an example the Palestinian attack on the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which serves as a humanitarian crossing, and which was burned badly by protesters last week and had to be closed for several days as a result.
The US also noted that protesters “sent burning kites adorned with swastikas across the fence, and taken other actions that place civilians’ lives in jeopardy. This is the real story of what is happening in Gaza.”
“The scale of violence is quite small compared to the worst human rights situations occurring across the globe. It is hypocritical for this body to spend time and money on this commission if there are no commissions looking into human rights and atrocities in the DPRK, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and the Russian occupation of Crimea,” the US said.
“The continued anti-Israel bias of this council does nothing to promote that future, and the one-sided action proposed by this council today only further shows that the Human Rights Council is a broken body.”
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein told the UNHRC “Israel, as an occupying power under international law, is obligated to protect the population of Gaza and ensure their welfare. But they are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death, deprived of dignity, dehumanized by the Israeli authorities to such a point it appears officials do not even consider that these men and women have a right, as well as every reason, to protest.”
Palestinian Authority Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi said a probe was needed because “Israel refuses to cooperate with UN Human rights mechanisms. Israel considers it above the law. My recommendation: try to be more modest. Only one voice supported Israel today. The law is not negotiable, it is a set of rules that must be implemented,” he said.
“We are ready to subject ourselves to investigations, but we have no trust in Israeli investigations.”
Khraishi charged that the Israeli leadership is trying to control the world under the pretext that the country is under threat.”
The probe’s conclusions are likely to target individual soldiers and commanders stationed on the Gaza border.
The commission of inquiry will be tasked with looking into “alleged violations and abuses including those that may amount to war crimes and to identify those responsible. It is expected to look at “ending impunity and ensuring legal accountability, including individual criminal and command responsibility, for such violations.”