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27 May, 2021 19:39

UN rights council to investigate alleged ‘violations and abuses’ during Israel-Hamas conflict

UN rights council to investigate alleged ‘violations and abuses’ during Israel-Hamas conflict

The UN Human Rights Council has voted to launch an inquiry into alleged human rights abuses committed in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel during recent fighting involving Israel’s military and Palestinian militant group Hamas.

On Thursday the draft resolution, put forward by the Palestinian authority and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, was backed by 24 Council votes to nine, with 14 abstentions.

The move comes after the 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas earlier this month, during which hundreds of rockets were fired from Gaza into the Jewish state while the densely-populated Palestinian enclave was bombarded by Israeli airstrikes.

The fighting killed at least 248 people in Gaza, including 66 children, while 12 people were killed in Israel, two of whom were children.

The UN body said the inquiry will cover “all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law” in the Occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, leading up to and since April 13 of this year.

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From April into May, tension began building in Israel amid the eviction of Palestinians from Arab neighborhoods and alleged Israeli aggression at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

According to the draft resolution text an assessment of the “root causes” of the conflict will be carried out to determine if there was “systematic discrimination and repression” along racial, religious and ethnic lines.

Lior Haiat, a spokesperson for Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, posted a statement saying the government “rejects outright” the resolution adopted by a body with a “built-in anti-Israel majority, guided by hypocrisy and absurdity.”

“Israeli security forces acted with the highest ethical standards,” the statement added, before lamenting what it said was a lack of recognition by the UN of the “war crimes” committed by Hamas.

It also noted that Israel “cannot and will not cooperate with such an investigation.”

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also released comments condemning the UN’s “shameful” resolution, saying it “whitewashes a genocidal terrorist organization.”

A spokesperson for Hamas welcomed the UN resolution, describing the militant group’s own actions as “legitimate resistance” and stressing the need for “immediate steps to punish” Israel.

The US Mission in Geneva also reacted to the UNHRC vote, saying in a statement it “deeply regrets” the council’s decision.

It added that the US sees the move as a “distraction” while it and other nations are trying to “create the conditions for a lasting and sustainable peace.”

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