August 5, 2021

UN launches investigation into human rights abuses in occupied Palestinian territories and Israel

Less than a week after the ceasefire concluded between Israel and Hamas, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council decided, Thursday, May 27 in Geneva, to launch an investigation international report on the human rights abuses committed since April in the occupied Palestinian territories and in Israel, as well as on “Root causes” tensions.

The resolution launching a “Independent and permanent international commission of inquiry” was adopted with 24 votes in favor, nine against and fourteen abstentions, at an extraordinary meeting of the Council devoted to “The grave human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem”.

Seized of a request for an investigation by Pakistan as coordinator of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as well as by the Palestinian authorities, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, a argued that the recent Israeli strikes on Gaza may constitute war crimes “If it turns out” that civilians were affected ” without distinction “.

While Michelle Bachelet felt that she had seen no evidence of the presence of armed groups or military action in the buildings targeted by Israel in Gaza, she also pointed out that the rocket fire launched by Hamas “Do not distinguish between military and civilian objects, and their use therefore constitutes a clear violation of international humanitarian law”.

In the clashes that took place from May 10 to 21, 254 Palestinians were killed by Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, including 66 children and fighters, according to local authorities. In Israel, rocket fire from Gaza killed 12 people, including a child, a teenage girl and a soldier, police said.

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  • A commission of inquiry to establish the facts and collect evidence

The scope of the resolution goes far beyond the recent conflict. The text asks that the commission study “All the root causes of the recurring tensions, instability and prolongation of the conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious affiliation”.

The investigation should focus on establishing the facts and collecting evidence and material that could be used in legal proceedings and, to the extent possible, identifying the culprits so that they can be tried.

This is the first time that the Council has set up a commission of inquiry with an indefinite mandate. The mandate of other commissions, such as the one on Syria, must be renewed every year.

Some countries, such as France, have deplored the fact that the commission’s mandate is ” too big “ and its objective “Too indeterminate”, but the resolution garnered broad support from African and Latin American countries.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki, who addressed the assembly online, accused Israel of instituting “An apartheid regime based on the oppression of the Palestinian people” and his “Forced displacement”. He claimed ” the right [des Palestiniens] to resist the occupation ” and claimed that “The settlers must be put on the terrorist list”.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Meirav Eilon Shahar, accused Hamas of having “Initiated this conflict” and assured that his country “Did everything to defuse tensions”. “You can’t be pro-Palestinian if you don’t condemn Hamas », did she say. The resolution “Has nothing to do with reality, has nothing to do with rights and certainly has nothing to do with promoting dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians”, she estimated just before the vote.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the vote that the resolution “Encourages terrorists all over the world”. “Today’s shameful decision is yet another example of the blatant anti-Israel obsession of the UN Human Rights Council”, he said.

The Palestinian Authority sees it, ” one step forward ” in protecting the human rights of Palestinians. The Islamist movement Hamas has also welcomed the opening of an investigation into “Israeli violations in the Palestinian territories”.

Read also In Gaza, UN calls for resolution of “root causes” of Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • French ambassador to Israel summoned after Le Drian’s remarks

In addition, the Israeli foreign ministry summoned the French ambassador to Israel on Thursday following remarks made by the head of French diplomacy.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian sent a warning on RTL on Sunday: “If by chance we had another solution than the two-state solution, then we would have the ingredients for an apartheid that would last a long time”, he had declared.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted this outing on Wednesday, seeing it as a “Hypocritical and deceptive moral lesson”. On Thursday, the head of Israeli diplomacy, Gabi Ashkenazi, therefore summoned the French ambassador to Israel, Eric Danon, and explained to him that Jean-Yves Le Drian’s remarks were “Unacceptable, unfounded and disconnected from reality”.

Israel said to wait ” of his friends [qu’ils ne s’expriment pas] irresponsibly, so as not to reinforce extremists and anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activities ” abroad, reported Lior Haiat, spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

At the height of the clashes between Israel and Hamas, pro-Palestinian demonstrations bringing together several thousand people were organized in France, despite prefectural bans for fear of disturbing public order.

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The World with AFP