The United Nations hightest human rights group voted Friday in Geneva to investigate Israel for human rights violations in “the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018” in the Gaza Strip, after convening a special session.
The the United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC) passed the resolution with 29 votes in favor and 14 abstentions. The U.S. and Australia alone voted against it.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley criticized the council after the meeting, defending Israel for engaging in “legitimate defense of its own border against terrorist attacks.”
“It is another shameful day for human rights,” Haley said.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Aviva Raz Shechter lambasted the decision, stating while “Israel deeply regrets any civilian loss of life,” the responsibility for the death of demonstrators who were shot by Israeli forces “can only be attributed to Hamas’s cynical exploitation of its own population, in a violent campaign against Israel.”
“Israel unilaterally disengage from Gaza in summer 2005. There is no occupation in Gaza. It is a myth,” she said, referring to the protest on Monday as a “riot.”
Shechter mocked the notion that Palestinians were hosting a “peaceful protests”.
“By supporting the convening of this session they unwisely embolden the Hamas terror organization. There is nothing peaceful in Molotov cocktails, explosive devices and meat-cleavers,” Shechter said, adding criticism for the Ramallah based Palestinian Authority. In 2007 the Palestinian Authority and Hamas divided their governments between the West Bank and Gaza, although there has been numerous failed attempts at reconciliation in recent years.
Shechter accused the Palestinian Authority of “willingly taking part in the implementation of Hamas’s strategy,” which was outlined as to “Blame Israel. Complain to the UN.”
Traditionally UNHRC considers independent inquires into human rights violations only after a member nation has exhausted a domestic investigation.
“This unnecessary resolution should have been avoided, because of the credibility of Israel’s robust investigative mechanisms, and its steadfast respect of IHL [International Humanitarian Law],” Shechter said.
After the vote, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said over social media, “the Human Rights Council again proved that it is a hypocritical and biased body that aims to harm Israel and to back up terror.”
On Thursday Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called to “immediately” pull out of the UN rights group, “Israel is under double attack. A terrorist attack from Gaza and a hypocrisy attack headed by the UN Human Rights Council.”
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations human rights head, endorsed the resolution to investigate. “The stark contrast in casualties on both sides is also suggestive of a wholly disproportionate response,” continuing, “on the Israeli side, one soldier was reportedly wounded, slightly, by a stone.”
Al Hussein told the council Israel is failing to meet it’s obligation under international law to protect Palestinians in Gaza. “They are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; de-humanized 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,” he said.
“Israel and its defenders have given the impression that Palestine occupies Israel. How long will this joke continue?” said the Palestinian rep to the UN Ibrahim Khraishi, “We have said we want peace and the world agrees with us that there should be a two-state solution. But Israel refuses that.”