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May 18, 2018 8:34 am

US Comes to Israel’s Defense as UN Human Rights Body Vilifies It Over Gaza Violence

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United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein. Photo: Reuters / Pierre Albouy.

Israel was sharply criticized at a UN human rights body on Friday for the deaths of rioters in the Gaza Strip and its treatment of the Palestinians, but Washington came to its defense.

The special session of the Human Rights Council was convened following Monday’s violence in which 60 Palestinians — most of whom were Hamas members — were killed as they tried to storm across the border from Gaza into Israel.

“Nobody has been made safer by the horrific events of the past week,” UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein told the council.

He said Israeli forces had killed 106 Palestinians, including 15 children, since March 30. Israel was an occupying power under international law, obliged to protect the people of Gaza and ensure their welfare, al-Hussein claimed.

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“But they are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; dehumanized by the Israeli authorities to such a point it appears officials do not even consider that these men and women have a right, as well as every reason, to protest.”

Israel says the deaths took place in riotes organized by Hamas, the terrorist group that controls Gaza, which intentionally provoked the violence.

Israel and the United States complain that the Human Rights Council, made up of 47 states chosen by the General Assembly, has a permanent anti-Israel bias because of the disproportionate number of countries hostile to Israel with UN seats.

Israel‘s ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter said the council had relapsed to its worst form of anti-Israel obsession. The call for an inquiry was “politically motivated and won’t improve the situation on the ground by even one iota,” she said.

“The loss of life could have been avoided had Hamas refrained from sending terrorists to attack Israel under the cover of the riots, while exploiting its own civilian population as human shields,” she said. “It is Israel, certainly not Hamas, which makes a real effort to minimize casualties among Palestinian civilians.”

The United States has stood by Israel during the past week’s violence, which coincided with the opening of a new American Embassy in Jerusalem. US Chargé D’affaires Theodore Allegra said the council was ignoring the real culprit of the violence: Hamas.

“The one sided action proposed by the council today only further shows that the Human Rights Council is indeed a broken body,” he said.

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