Human Rights Council condemns Israel’s use of “lethal force” in the Gaza protests

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UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The UN Human Rights Council on Friday condemned Israel’s “apparently deliberate use of lethal force and other forms of excessive force” against civilian protesters in Gaza and called for the perpetrators of all violations in the Gaza Strip to be brought to justice.

Protests began on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip in March last year to demand an easing of the Israeli blockade of the territory and recognition of the right of Palestinians to return to the territories from which their families fled or were forced to leave when Israel was established in 1948.

On the closing day of four weeks of meetings, the Council adopted a resolution calling for accountability by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The resolution was supported by 23 States against eight States and 15 abstentions, as well as one country.

The resolution called for cooperation with a preliminary investigation initiated by the International Criminal Court in 2015 on allegations of Israeli human rights violations.

The decision was based on a report by a UN commission of inquiry that said Israeli security forces may have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity when it killed 189 Palestinians and injured more than 6,100 during last week’s weekly protests.

Palestinian Ambassador Ibrahim Khuraishi, referring to the report’s findings, said targeting civilians was dangerous and should not be tolerated. He added that among the dead were 35 children, two journalists and paramedics.

He pointed out that no Israeli was questioned, whether civilian or military.

Israeli Ambassador Aviva Raz Sheikter denounced what she described as “clear evidence of political bias against Israel” in the report and accused the committee of ignoring the “very real danger” facing some 70,000 Israeli civilians living on the border because of 1,300 rockets fired by Hamas militants during the interrogation period Between 30 March and 31 December.

The decision sparked divisions among European countries, with Britain and Italy abstaining, Spain voted in favor, and Austria and Hungary opposed it. The United States did not participate in the vote after it withdrew from the council last year in protest at what it called bias against Israel.

“Hamas, of course, has a fundamental responsibility because its activists have used the protests lightly, and we are clear that Israel has the right to self-defense,” said British Ambassador Julian Prithwitt.

“But similarly, we have expressed our continued fears about the use of live ammunition and excessive force by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Our decision to abstain reflects this balance. ”

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