The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) just issued a stunning rebuke to Israel, voting through a resolution calling on the council to "urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry... to investigate all alleged violations and abuses... in the context of the military assaults on large scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018," while the UN human rights chief slammed Israel's "wholly disproportionate response."
The UN's top human rights body passed the resolution with 29 votes in favor, two opposed and 14 abstentions.
The two HRC members in opposition were the United States and Australia (the UK abstained), with Israel condemning the vote, which was proposed by a group of countries including Pakistan. Both the US and Israel criticized the resolution's language for failing to mention Hamas — the militant group ruling over Gaza — which Israel blames for the scores of civilians killed during the 'Great March of Return' protests.
Image via Business Recorder
On Monday 60 Palestinians were gunned down by Israeli live fire as protesters approached the border fence area. The following day U.N. leadership issued a scathing critique of Israel's actions, with the U.N.'s human rights commissioner identifying women, children, journalists, first responders and bystanders as among the dead. "We condemn the appalling, deadly violence in Gaza yesterday," said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Though the U.N. commissioner acknowledged the Palestinians' attempt to break down and damage the fence that separates Gaza and Israel, he added that this did "not amount to a threat to life or serious injury and are not sufficient grounds for the use of live ammunition."
And a day before Friday's HRC resolution vote Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman urged Israel to withdraw its membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council altogether, arguing that "Israel is under a double attack," and further that, "A terror attack from Gaza and an attack of hypocrisy headed by the United Nations Human Rights Council."
By a strong majority vote of 29-2, #UNHRC votes to create #COI into #Gaza bloodshed. US & Australia, oppose, #EU divided. Shame on those who spoke of the need for an investigation ... but then failed to support it. pic.twitter.com/rVCqocLay3
Throughout the mass Palestinian protest along the Gaza-Israel border, which began on March 30th, Israel has maintained its stance that Hamas is purposefully provoking the shootings, even to the point of sending children and disabled to the fence near Israeli security positions, and hiding firearms among the crowd. However, the U.N. and a number of nations that have condemned the killings — some like South Africa even recalling their ambassador — aren't buying this as a valid explanation for the appalling death toll.
But both the Israel and...