UN to probe Israel’s crimes

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday denounced as “shameful” a decision by the UN Human Rights Council to probe abuses in the Palestinian territories and inside Israel, while Palestinians welcomed the move.

“Today’s shameful decision is yet another example of the UN Human Rights Council’s blatant anti-Israel obsession,” Netanyahu said in a statement. The Palestinian foreign ministry, however, said the decision “reflects the determination of the international community to move forward in the path of accountability, law enforcement, and protection of Palestinian human rights”.

Earlier Thursday, the UN Human Rights Council decided to create an open-ended international investigation into violations surrounding the latest Gaza violence, and into the “systematic” abuses in the Palestinian territories and inside Israel.

The resolution, which passed with 24 of the council’s 47 members in favour, will spur an unprecedented level of scrutiny on abuses and their “root causes” in the decades-long Middle East conflict.

The text, which was presented by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, was debated during a special one-day council session focused on the surge in deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians this month.

“This travesty makes a mockery of international law and encourages terrorists worldwide,” Netanyahu said. Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for Hamas, said the Islamist Palestinian group that controls Gaza “welcomed the decision of the Human Rights Council to form an international investigation committee into Israeli violations in the Palestinian territories”.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Friday welcomed the adoption of OIC-led resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC). “Pakistan stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people and shares the international community’s expectation for effective implementation of this resolution to ensure respect for international law as well as for rights and dignity of the people of Palestine,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a tweet acknowledged in this regard the untiring efforts of Ambassador Munir Akram in the United Nations and Pakistan’s ambassador in Geneva Ambassador Khalil Hashmi for leaving no stone unturned in their diplomacy for the just cause of Palestine. He said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in a state of fear.

Qureshi urged the UN body to ensure the realisation of the fundamental rights of Palestinians and “hold the aggressor accountable through international inquiry”. Qureshi said the people of Palestine had, once again, faced a relentless onslaught on their rights and dignity, in two weeks of brutal Israeli aggression.

Qureshi said the violence led to indiscriminate demolition of houses, hospitals, and schools causing innumerable hardships to the people. “False equivalence between the victim and the aggressor, on account of political expediency, is patently incorrect and morally reprehensible,” he said, adding that “This Council must act to rectify the wrong.”