Israel Rejects ‘Outrageous’ Probe Approved by UN Rights Council After Gaza Conflict
Israel outrightly rejected a resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday to open an ongoing investigation into alleged human rights abuses and crimes committed by Israel.
“Today’s shameful decision is yet another example of the UN Human Rights Council’s blatant anti-Israel obsession,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “Once again, an immoral automatic majority at the Council whitewashes a genocidal terrorist organization that deliberately targets Israeli civilians while turning Gaza’s civilians into human shields. This while depicting as the ‘guilty party’ a democracy acting legitimately to protect its citizens from thousands of indiscriminate rocket attacks. This travesty makes a mockery of international law and encourages terrorists worldwide.”
The resolution was adopted following a vote of the 47 UNHRC member states on Thursday. A breakdown of the result shows that 24 member states — including Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Uzbekistan and Venezuela — voted in favor of the resolution. Among the nine members who opposed the resolution are the UK, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. The remainder abstained.
The vote on establishing a commission of inquiry comes after Israel and Hamas agreed to a bilateral, unconditional ceasefire on May 21 that ended 11 days of deadly fighting. The inquiry will begin a probe into incidents that occurred both before and after April 13, 2021 and include the recent clashes with the Hamas terrorist organization.
“Israel cannot and will not cooperate with such an investigation,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated. “Israel will continue to defend itself against the terrorism of Hamas and against politicized international bodies that seek to delegitimize our lawful and just actions.”
“Any resolution that fails to condemn the firing of over 4,300 rockets by a terror organization at Israeli civilians, or even to mention the terror organization Hamas, is nothing more than a moral failure and a stain on the international community and the UN,” the ministry said. “Israeli security forces acted with the highest ethical standards, in accordance with international law, in defending our citizens from Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket fire.”
UN high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet told the council Thursday that Israeli strikes on Gaza could constitute war crimes, and that Hamas rocket fire into Israel had violated international humanitarian law.
The Thursday resolution also urged all member states to “refrain from transferring arms when they assess, in accordance with applicable national procedures and international obligations and standards, that there is a clear risk that such arms might be used in the commission or facilitation of serious violations or abuses of international human rights law or serious violations of international humanitarian law.”
“The world turned upside down,” said Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Twitter. “Instead of the free world speaking out clearly against Hamas and its terror leaders[,] the UN Human Rights Council makes an inexplicable decision against Israeli citizens who faced the criminal fire of thousands of missiles against innocent civilians.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and the UN Gilad Erdan called the probe “outrageous” and the resolution “antisemitic.”
“This is not the first time that the UNHRC has established a commission of inquiry against Israel. It only shows that this “human rights organization” is obsessed with villainizing Israel rather than focused on human rights violations around the world. Since its establishment, the UNHRC has proven that it is morally corrupt,” Erdan said.
Erdan noted that nine of the 30 special sessions held by the UNHRC were solely focused on Israel, and did not include resolutions against human rights violators such as Syria and Iran.
“For years the HRC has been creating a parallel universe where Hamas and Israel are given a moral equivalence, a parallel universe that has no grip in reality, where politics prevails over human rights. This session and this resolution are no different,” said Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel Representative to the United Nations and International Organizations in Geneva. “The resolution has nothing to do with reality, has nothing to do with human rights, and definitely has nothing to do with promoting dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.”
Leading US Jewish groups also condemned the resolution, with B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin calling it “as predictable as they are damaging to the cause of human rights.”
“By obscenely blaming the victim, council members have rewarded the terrorism of Hamas, which is bad for Israelis, for Palestinians and for peace, they said in a statement. “The council now seeks, on an ‘ongoing’ basis, to strengthen both unjust claims of discrimination inside Israel itself and dangerous Palestinian efforts to have counterterrorism hindered by the International Criminal Court.”