Diplomacy

UN Human Rights Council Votes to Investigate Israel over Violence at Hamas-Led Riots

Following the deaths of a reported 62 rioters, 50 of whom were claimed as members of Hamas, during riots on Monday, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to initiate an investigation into the killing of the rioters by Israeli forces, The Times of Israel reported Friday.

Twenty-nine council members voted for the investigation, only two – the United States and Australia – opposed the investigation and 14 members abstained. The council also condemned what it called, “the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians.”

What the council is calling an “independent, international commission of inquiry,” is to report its findings next March. Israel has said that it will not cooperate with the investigation.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein told the council “the stark contrast in casualties on both sides is… suggestive of a wholly disproportionate response,” but, according to the Times, “placed no responsibility on the Hamas terror group whose leader openly called to breach Israel’s border and violently attack the people living there.”

In a statement to the council, a representative of NGO Monitor observed that “Yesterday, a senior Hamas official admitted that 50 of the claimed 62 dead in Gaza were Hamas combatants. Islamic Jihad acknowledged 3, including a 16-year old child soldier. In other words, at least 90% of the casualties were fighters, a percentage unmatched in the history of warfare.”

The NGO Monitor statement also observed that UNHRC is currently having budgetary problems and asked, “How many more times will this Council be held hostage to Palestinian exploitation and diversion of this Council’s attention?”

In a statement made on behalf of the NGO UN Watch, Col. Richard Kemp, who commanded British troops in Afghanistan, rejected the assertions by the council, calling them “a complete distortion of the truth.”

“The truth is that Hamas, a terrorist organization that seeks the destruction of Israel and murder of Jews everywhere, deliberately caused over 60 of its own people to get killed,” Kemp said. “They sent thousands of civilians to the front line — as human shields for terrorists trying to break through the border.”

[Photo: UN Geneva / Flickr]