On Thursday, the UNHRC passed a resolution to create an “open-ended” international investigation into violations surrounding the latest Gaza violence and into “systematic” abuses in the Palestinian territories and inside Israel.
In its resolution, UNHRC called to establish an “independent” international commission of inquiry to investigate alleged violations of international humanitarian law and all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law in the “occupied Palestinian territory”, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel since 13 April 2021.
The resolution, presented by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC, was debated during the special one-day council session. The UNHRC focused on the counter-terror operations launched by Israel in response to the terror attacks unleashed by Hamas.
The resolution was passed by 24 votes in favour, while nine countries voted against the resolution. The United States, which is is just an observer to UNHRC, cannot vote. This is the first time that a Commission of Inquiry has received a “continuing mandate”, that is, it is not time-bound.
Opening the session, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet claimed that she was concerned about the “high level of civilian fatalities and injuries” in the attacks on Gaza and warned the Israeli attacks on the enclave “may constitute war crimes”. The UNHRC chief said Hamas’ “indiscriminate” firing of rockets at Israel was “a clear violation of international humanitarian law”.
Biden administration expresses deep regret over purported UNHRC resolution
Following the passage of a resolution against Israel, the United States expressed its deep regret against the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) decision to launch an international investigation into alleged crimes committed in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
According to reports, the Biden administration has expressed its disappointment over the probe initiated by the UNHRC to look into the “grave human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”.
“The action today instead threatens to imperil the progress that has been made,” said the statement issued by the US mission in Geneva after UNHRC decided to set up a permanent commission to probe alleged human rights violations in Gaza, West Bank and Palestine.
It is worth mentioning that the UNHRC has repeatedly violated its mandate to launch a biased probe against Israel. The US has time and again criticised the self-claimed Human Rights watchdog UNHRC for its anti-Israel obsession. In fact, the then US President Donald Trump had exited the UNHRC in 2018, abandoning the US seat, to protest the council’s bias against Israel.
Many members of the UNHRC are themselves, systematic human right offenders. The council conveniently ignores the worst cases of human rights abuses carried out by powerful member nations while targeting Israel for its alleged violations.
UNHRC and its Anti-Israel bias
In fact, Israel is the subject of more resolutions than any other country. Since its founding in 2006, the UNHRC has exhibited its obsession with criticising Israel, which is also reflected in its work. The 47-member body has only two agenda pertaining to human rights violations in specific countries. The first, Agena Item 7, is reserved solely for discussing supposed violations by Israel. The second, Item 4, deals with the rest of the world, including the authoritative regimes in the Middle East and Latin America.
Continuing to demonstrate its anti-Israel bias, the UNHRC had called for a one-day special session to discuss the “grave human rights situation” in what it terms as “Occupied Palestinian Territory”. The UNHRC has dedicated its entire day to discuss and pass a resolution to the supposed human rights violations by Israel during the latest Israel-Palestines clashes that erupted over a property dispute in East Jerusalem.
It is pertinent to note that UNHRC convened the one-day special session on the request of the member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Palestine. It is not an unknown fact that most of the OIC member countries are authoritarian regimes who themselves are accused of severe human rights violations in their own country.
Ironically, Pakistan, which provides a haven for terrorists to carry out grave human rights violations on its neighbours, moved the resolution demanding a serious investigation into the alleged crimes committed during the Israel-Palestine clashes on behalf of the OIC. Through this resolution, the Islamic countries, with the help of UNHRC, aims to portray as the aggressor and pin the blame on Israel for the recent clashes between the two sides.
The special session only focuses on Israel’s actions and fails to seriously consider the terror attacks that were unleashed against Israel by Islamic terrorists Hamas, which fired several rockets into Israel, killing more innocent civilians. Though it names Hamas for carrying out attacks on Israel, the UNHRC has conveniently ignored the repeated terror attacks on Israel while indirectly blaming Israel for sparking the clashes.
Meanwhile, Israel has reacted to the so-called resolutions saying the country would not cooperate with the probe and termed it as a bid to “whitewash crimes committed by the terror organization Hamas”. The Foreign Ministry noted that Israeli security forces have acted in accordance with the highest ethical standards and in accordance with international law, protecting their citizens from Hamas attacks.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the resolution a mockery of international law and attacked UNHRC for its “blatant anti-Israel obsession.”
Palestinian terror attacks against Israel
The clashes between the Jewish nation Israel and Palestine are at an all-time high as Islamic terror groups continue to carry out terror attacks against Israel by launching rockets. Since last week, Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas has unleashed massive airstrikes against Israel, firing hundreds of rockets inside the country.
The main reason behind the current conflict is the Sheikh Jarrah property dispute, a dispute which can lead to the evictions of around 300 Palestinians from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood. The court ruling of eviction of illegal Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in east Jerusalem has stoked tensions and sparked fresh violence in the region.
In response to Hamas’s terror attacks, Israel has carried out its defensive counter-terror operations to eliminate terror threats emanating from Gaza. The Israeli army has struck more Hamas targets in the coastal enclave after Hamas started targeting civilians inside Israel. In a swift operation, the IDF also demolished a building that housed international media offices, including Al Jazeera’s in the Gaza Strip. The IDF has said that the building was being used by the Islamic terror group Hamas, making it a valid military target.