The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva strongly condemned ongoing Israeli military operations in Gaza, on Monday, and also condemned Israel’s “grave violations” of the human rights of the people of Gaza, in an emergency session that began last Friday. The resolution also called for the urgent dispatch of an international mission to Gaza and called on Israel to cooperate with it. according to a report by Reuters.
The vote in the 47-member Human Rights Council was 33 countries in favor, with one NO vote (Canada), and 13 abstentions (European countries, Japan, and South Korea).
Russia, China, Latin American and members of the Organization of Islamic Conference countries supported the resolution.
This Reuters report was published in Haaretz here .
Correspondent Gideon Levy wrote today in Haaretz that “When the cannons eventually fall silent, the time for questions and investigations will be upon us. The mushroom clouds of smoke and dust will dissipate in the pitch-black sky; the fervor, desensitization and en masse jump on the bandwagon will be forever forgotten and perhaps we will view a clear picture of Gaza in all its grimness. Then we will see the scope of the killing and destruction, the crammed cemeteries and overflowing hospitals, the thousands of wounded and physically disabled, the destroyed houses that remain after this war. The questions that will beg to be asked, as cautiously as possible, are who is guilty and who is responsible … The public, moral and judicial test will be applied to the three Israeli statesmen who sent the Israel Defense Forces to war against a helpless population, one that did not even have a place to take refuge, in maybe the only war in history against a strip of land enclosed by a fence. Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni will stand at the forefront of the guilty”. This article can be read in full here.
There are already IDF solidiers who have refused to enter the Gaza Strip to take part in Operation Cast Lead, in protest of the killing of Palestinian civilians, according to another report n Haaretz. “On Monday it emerged that [one] soldier has been jailed for 14 days in a military facility. He was the first soldier to be tried for refusing orders since the beginning of the operation. Attorney Michael Sfard, the legal adviser of Omets – a non profit organization for judicial and social justice – said that since the beginning of the Israeli offensive on December 27, eight reservists have sought his advice upon being drafted in the emergency reserves call-up…” This report can be read in Haaretz here.
And, in a letter published in The Sunday Times of London, a group of international law professors — including the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, Richard Falk, who was recently barred from entry into Israel and then deported from Ben Gurion airport — wrote that “ISRAEL has sought to justify its military attacks on Gaza by stating that it amounts to an act of ‘self-defence’ as recognised by Article 51, United Nations Charter. We categorically reject this contention. The rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas deplorable as they are, do not, in terms of scale and effect amount to an armed attack entitling Israel to rely on self-defence. Under international law self-defence is an act of last resort and is subject to the customary rules of proportionality and necessity … For 18 months Israel had imposed an unlawful blockade on the coastal strip that brought Gazan society to the brink of collapse. In the three years after Israel’s redeployment from Gaza, 11 Israelis were killed by rocket fire … Throughout this time the Gaza Strip remained occupied territory under international law because Israel maintained effective control over it … As things stand, its invasion and bombardment of Gaza amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s 1.5m inhabitants contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law. In addition, the blockade of humanitarian relief, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and preventing access to basic necessities such as food and fuel, are prima facie war crimes … Israel has a right to take reasonable and proportionate means to protect its civilian population from such attacks. However, the manner and scale of its operations in Gaza amount to an act of aggression and is contrary to international law, notwithstanding the rocket attacks by Hamas”. This letter was published here .