Israel condemned over Gaza border excesses

GENEVA • The United Nations Human Rights Council yesterday condemned Israel's "apparent intentional use of unlawful lethal and other excessive force" against civilian protesters in Gaza, and called for perpetrators of all violations in the strip to face justice.

The Geneva forum adopted a resolution on accountability, brought by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, by a vote of 23 states in favour and eight against, with 15 abstentions.

European countries were divided.

The United States does not participate, having quit the body last year over perceived anti-Israel bias.

The text was based on a report by a UN inquiry which said that Israeli security forces may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in killing 189 Palestinians and wounding more than 6,100 during weekly protests last year.

The protests at the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip began in March last year, with Gazans demanding that Israel ease a blockade of the enclave and recognise their right to return to lands their families fled or were forced from when Israel was founded in 1948.

"The targeting of civilians is a serious matter that should not be condoned," Palestine's Ambassador Ibrahim Khraisi said, citing the report's findings.

 

The toll included 35 Palestinian children, two journalists as well as medical workers, he noted.

Israeli Ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter denounced what she called "clear evidence of political bias against Israel" in the report.

She accused the UN panel of ignoring "the very real threat" posed to 70,000 Israeli citizens living along the border from rockets fired by Hamas militants.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2019, with the headline 'Israel condemned over Gaza border excesses'. Print Edition | Subscribe