The United Nations has voted to send investigators from its Human Rights Council (HRC) to look into the massacre of Palestinians by Jewish army forces in Gaza—despite the United States and Australia voting against the resolution.
The resolution, to “urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry” was backed on Friday by 29 members. Apart from the US and Australia, 14 other states abstained.
The resolution said that investigators must “investigate all alleged violations and abuses … in the context of the military assaults on large-scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018.”
The commission of inquiry will be asked to produce a final report next March.
According to a statement on the UN HRC’s Twitter account, the following nations abstained in the vote: Croatia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Kenya, Panama, Korea, Rwanda, Slovakia, Switzerland, Togo, and the United Kingdom.
Since protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed 106 Palestinians, including 15 children. More than 12,000 have been wounded, at least 3,500 by live ammunition.
Speaking to the session via a video recording, Michael Lynk, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine, said Israel’s use of force may amount to “a war crime.”
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the Jordanian diplomat who is the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Jordanian Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Israel is depriving 1.9 million people in Gaza of “basic rights and creating inhumane conditions.”
“They [the Palestinians] are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; dehumanized by the Israeli authorities,” Al Hussein stated.
“This was not ‘a PR victory for Hamas’, in the reported words of a senior Israeli military spokesman; it was a tragedy for thousands of families,” Zeid said in the opening speech at a special session of the Human Rights Council.
Given the “stark contrast in casualties” on each side, and stressing that the demonstrators did not pose a threat to the lives of Israelis, he said the response amounted to “willful killings” in a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.