Sunday, 20 Jun 2021

Israel and Hamas to face investigation for possible war crimes following 11 days of fighting

Israel and Hamas will be investigated for potential war crimes after the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution in favour of action.

The resolution was passed by 29 votes to four at a special session in Geneva; the UK, France and Japan were among those who voted against it.

A commission of inquiry will now be established to look into “all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict”.

Israel’s foreign ministry strongly dismissed the investigation and said it would not cooperate with a body that has “built in anti-Israel majority, guided by hypocrisy and absurdity”.

“Any resolution that fails to condemn the firing of over 4,300 rockets by a terror organisation at Israeli civilians, or even to mention the terror organisation Hamas, is nothing more than a moral failure and a stain on the international community and the UN.”

Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said Hamas was a “jihadist, genocidal, terrorist organisation” and accused the group of using Palestinian civilians as human shields to conceal its rockets.

The United States, which did not take part in the vote, has said it “deeply regrets” the move because it “threatens to imperil” recent progress in the region.

Hamas in turn welcomed the investigation, describing the group’s actions as “legitimate resistance” against Israel.

Hamas is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the UK, the US, European Union and other powers.

Israel is accused of using disproportionate and indiscriminate force after 270 Palestinians, including 68 children, were killed during the recent 11 days of violence.

Hamas rockets killed 10 Israelis, although thousands of rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defence system.

It is not the first time the UN Human Rights Council has voted to investigate Israeli conduct in conflicts against Hamas.

Similar resolutions were passed in 2012 and 2014 but Israel refused access to the investigating teams and might do so again.

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