Thursday, July 06, 2006

U.N. Human Rights Council Deplores Humanitarian Impact Of Israel's Military Operation In The Territority Of The Future State Of Palestine

"The U.N. Human Rights Council on Thursday deplored Israel's military operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as breaching international humanitarian law and voted to send a fact-finding mission to the region.

By a vote of 29-11 with five abstentions, the council approved the resolution proposed by the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference after it was amended to suggest the Palestinians also had a responsibility to refrain from violence against civilians.

''It is absolutely unacceptable'' that the resolution only names Israel, Israeli Ambassador Itzhak Levanon told The Associated Press. ''Obviously this resolution isn't evenhanded. It's not equitable and it's not balanced. Everybody knows that. Even those that voted in favor, they did this for political reasons.''

Switzerland had earlier proposed amendments saying armed Palestinian groups also should be called to account in the resolution.

But the council accepted instead a more vague Islamic conference amendment that ''urges all concerned parties to respect the rules of international humanitarian law, to refrain from violence against the civilian population and to treat under all circumstances all detained combatants and civilians in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.''

China, which was among those voting for the amendment, said the resolution should have been changed so that everyone could accept it by consensus.

''This is a new council, and it should have a new start,'' Chinese Ambassador Sha Zukang told the AP. ''This type of voting should not be encouraged.''

Israel launched the offensive last week in response to the capture of an Israeli soldier, 19-year-old Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

The resolution received considerable support from the non-Muslim members of the council, including India, Russia, South Africa, Brazil, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Cuba, the Philippines and Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Uruguay and Zambia, but a number of them said they thought the Palestinians should have been called to account as well.

Canada and European countries opposed it. Neither the United States nor Israel are members.

The resolution expressed ''deep concern'' over the ''arbitrary arrest of Palestinian (Cabinet) ministers, members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and other officials as well as the arbitrary arrests of other civilians'' and military attacks.

It said the council ''decides to dispatch an urgent fact-finding mission'' headed by John Dugard, a U.N. expert who visited the Palestinian territories last month.

The vote came in an emergency session of the U.N. body, which decided last week as one of its first acts to make it a priority to examine Israel's human rights practices in the West Bank and Gaza Strip." ...

Associated Press "U.N. Council Rebukes Israeli Operation" via July 6, 2006

Mirroring suicide-bombings and missile firings in their destructive and inhumane impact, Israeli air attacks on the Gaza and West Bank Territories of the Future State of Palestine kill scores of civilians and threaten the water-supply of hundreds of thousands of civilians.

Photo credit: (c) Getty Images via With thanks.


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