Israel snubs UN rights body over Gaza war report
Israel snubbed a United Nations Human Rights Council session Monday debating a scathing report detailing likely war crimes committed during last year's Gaza war, with Israel's ambassador slamming the body as "morally flawed".
"I am out here and not in there because the Human Rights Council has abandoned fairness, has become morally flawed and has entirely politicised its concern for universal human rights," Israel's representative to the council Eviatar Manor told reporters outside the council chambers at the UN in Geneva.
Earlier, Mary McGowan Davis, head of the UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza, had presented the commission's report, published last week, to the council.
She decried "serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by Israel and Palestinian armed groups, in some cases amounting to war crimes."
More than 2,140 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 73 people on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers, were killed during the 51-day conflict.
The commission report especially decried the "huge firepower" Israel had used in Gaza, particularly against residential buildings and UN schools, and questioned whether a policy of civilian attacks had been "approved at least tacitly by decision-makers at the highest levels of the government of Israel."
The report also condemned the "indiscriminate" firing of thousands of rockets and mortars at Israel, which it said appeared to have been intended to "spread terror" among Israeli civilians.
The Palestinian representative to the council, Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi, hailed the report, but lamented that it had sought a false balance.
"The language of the report did not take into consideration that the conflict is unbalanced... The losses are not equatable," he told the council.
Manor meanwhile blasted the rights council that created the commission as inherently biased against the Jewish state.
"This is not the Human Rights Council. It is the Palestinian Human Rights Council," he said, pointing out that it has adopted more resolutions against Israel than the rest of the world's country's combined.
Asked whether Israel would again consider boycotting the Human Rights Council altogether -- as it did for more than a year starting in March 2012 over the council's plans to probe how Jewish settlements were harming Palestinian rights -- Manor said that depended on the final language of a resolution to be tabled this week based on the report.
"I cannot predict now what will be the government's reaction," he said.
Outside the UN building, hundreds of people bussed in from all over Europe gathered to demonstrate in support of Israel, waving Israel flags and banners insisting the country actions were "legitimate defence."
© 2015 AFP