UN Resolution Calls for End to Israeli Occupation

UN Resolution Calls for End to Israeli OccupationUN Resolution Calls for End to Israeli Occupation

The 47-member United Nations Human Rights Council voted on Friday to adopt a resolution condemning Israel over the findings of a UN report into the Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

A total of 41 countries voted overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution, while only the United States voted against. Five countries, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Macedonia and Paraguay, abstained from voting, Middle East Eye reported.

The UN report, which found evidence that Israel committed war crimes in the 50-day war last summer, called the devastation caused by Israel in the Gaza Strip as “unprecedented.”

The resolution stressed the "urgency of achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967" and denounced the 1,462 civilian deaths in Gaza in July and August, including 551 children and 299 women.

It also condemned the “non-cooperation by Israel with the independent commission of inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict and the refusal to grant access to or to cooperate with international human rights bodies seeking to investigate alleged violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Beit-ul Moqaddas (East Jerusalem)."

Members said they were "gravely concerned by reports regarding serious human rights violations and grave breaches of international humanitarian law, including possible war crimes."

Israeli pressure resulted in the council omitting reference to possible war crimes, committed in the occupied territory in 2008, 2009 and 2014.

The report also called on Israel and Palestinian group Hamas to cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s preliminary investigation.

Mired in Outrage

Israel felt the report’s findings blamed them for the entirety of the suffering and destruction of the summer war, and slammed the report as “biased.”

The Israeli response to the resolution was mired in outrage, with ministers calling the vote “absurd.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the decision, boasting that Israel is “innocent of any crime.”

However, after hours of covert negotiations over the wording of the report, all European members of the UNHRC, including Britain, France and Germany, voted in favor of the resolution.

The resolution states: “The need to ensure that all those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law are held to account, through appropriate fair and independent domestic or international criminal justice mechanisms.”

Ibrahim Khraishi, the Palestinian ambassador to Geneva, welcomed the resolution and urged the UN investigative commission’s recommendations concerning the war in Gaza to be applied and implemented in a quick and effective way.

“[The] reality in which Israel stands above international law must be changed.”

Britain's ambassador Julian Braithwaite also said Israel may defend itself against the findings of the report, but "It is a principle of international humanitarian law that the use of force in self-defense must be proportionate."

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch since 1993, said in a Twitter post, "US stands embarrassingly alone (41-1) in opposing UN rights council resolution urging justice for Gaza war crimes."