UN fact-finding mission dispatched to Gaza

The UN Human Rights Council, which has censured only one country - Israel - during its six-month existence, voted Wednesday to send a fact-finding mission to Beit Hanoun, the northern Gaza town that has been a target of Israeli military operations in recent days. The 47-nation council approved a resolution sponsored by the body's powerful Muslim bloc condemning the Israeli artillery barrage in Beit Hanoun that killed 19 civilians last week and other "human rights violations" in the Palestinian territories. Israeli Ambassador Itzhak Levanon said the special session was just another example of the council's lack of objectivity and the "one-sided resolution" would plunge the rights body "into politicization and accelerate its destruction." "Those who pushed for this special session are conspicuously ignoring tragedies in other parts of the planet," he said. Members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference were joined by China, Russia and Cuba in supporting the resolution that was adopted by 32-8 with 6 abstentions.