The UN Rights Council voted on Thursday to launch an international probe into alleged Israeli “war crimes” during the 11-day conflict between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip and “systematic discrimination and repression” in Israel, the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria via a permanent Commission of Inquiry (COI), the council’s most powerful tool.
It is the first time the UNHRC has approved a permanent “ongoing” commission regarding a U.N. member state.
The resolution did not accuse Hamas of committing war crimes by indiscriminately launching rockets at Israeli civilians from military sites embedded in crowded civilian areas in the Gaza Strip. The decision was approved at a special Human Rights Council session on Palestinians arranged by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations.
The decision passed with 24 of the council’s 47 members voting in favor, nine voting against it, and 14 abstaining.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed the “shameful decision,” saying that it is another example of the council’s “blatant anti-Israel obsession.”
“Once again, an immoral automatic majority at the Council whitewashes a genocidal terrorist organization that deliberately targets Israeli civilians while turning Gaza’s civilians into human shields,” he stated. “This while depicting as the ‘guilty party’ a democracy acting legitimately to protect its citizens from thousands of indiscriminate rocket attacks. This travesty makes a mockery of international law and encourages terrorists worldwide.”
Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva Meirav Eilon Shahar blasted the council’s decision to compare a democratic country to a terrorist organization, saying that there is “an immoral equivalence, between Israel, a democracy that seeks peace and abides by international law, and a murderous, extreme terrorist organization.”
“You cannot be pro-Palestinian if you do not condemn Hamas for using its own people, the Palestinian people, as human shields. You cannot be pro-Palestinian if you continue to allow Hamas to use international aid to build terror infrastructure beneath schools, residential buildings, and hospitals.”
“Hamas’s complete disregard for Palestinian lives worked because the international community is willing to blame Israel for every death and because of the inaction by the international community to ensure Hamas’s arsenal is dismantled,” she said, adding that 30% of all Human Rights Council special sessions have targeted Israel.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry condemned the decision as a “moral stain on the international community and the UN.”
“The decision doesn’t contain any reference to the Hamas terror organization and completely ignores the 4,300 rockets toward Israeli citizens,” the ministry responded. “The true purpose of the commission of inquiry is to whitewash the crimes of the Hamas terror organization and incriminate Israel for actions in defense of its citizens.”
The ministry added that Israel will not cooperate with the probe.
BREAKING: U.N. Human Rights Council adopts PLO-drafted resolution ignoring Hamas rocket attacks & creating inquiry targeting Israel with unprecedented open-ended mandate that stretches indefinitely into past & future. Shame on 🇲🇽 Mexico for backing it.
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) May 27, 2021
President Reuven Rivlin panned the “inexplicable decision against Israeli citizens who faced the criminal fire of thousands of missiles against innocent civilians instead of hearing a clear call from the free world against the Hamas terrorist organization and its leaders, who are clear war criminals. We are witnessing an upside-down world.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the decision “ends all legitimacy for the Human Rights Council’s continued existence.”
The US, which is no longer a member of the council, said that it “deeply regrets” the decision.”
The countries that opposed the resolution were Austria, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Czech Republic, Germany, Malawi, Marshal Islands, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.
The countries that voted for the decision were: Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkino Faso, China, Cote D’Ivoire, Cuba, Eritrea, Gabon, Indonesia, Libya, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Pakistan, Philipines, Russia, Senegal, Somalia, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.
The countries that abstained were: Bahamas, Brazil, Denmark, Fiji, France, India, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korean, Togo, and Ukraine.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)