Israel under renewed pressure at UN rights council
Israel came under renewed pressure at an urgent session of the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday, as countries lined up to condemn its interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla and urge an impartial probe.
"This is a direct challenge to the will of the international community and the UN charter," an Iraqi envoy told the council on the second day of the special session called to debate Israel's deadly raid on the aid ships.
"We call for an investigation under the auspices of the UN," he added.
A Libyan diplomat warned that "silence vis-a-vis these crimes can be interpreted as consensus," as he urged the 47 member state council to condemn Israel "for this crime."
Besides Arab and Muslim states, countries ranging from Laos to Peru to Iceland all spoke out against Israel's move.
Israeli commandos boarded one of the aid ships bound for the Gaza Strip in the pre-dawn raid on Monday that left at least nine passengers dead. Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists were also arrested.
The move sparked global outrage and prompted states from the Arab League and the OIC to ask for the special session of the rights council.
The European Union had condemned the raid during the first day of the meeting, while the United States said it was "deeply disturbed."
US ambassador Eileen Donahoe noted on Tuesday that the blockade in Gaza was "unsustainable and is not in the interest of any of those concerned."
Pakistan, Sudan and the Palestinian delegation have tabled a draft resolution for the debate seeking condemnation of the raid and aiming to set up an international inquiry.
The draft called for an "independent international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance."
Diplomats are still negotiating over the text of the draft resolution, with the final document expected to be submitted for adoption later Wednesday.
Israeli ambassador Aharon Leshno Yaar had defended the military action, saying the soldiers acted in self defence and only used live ammunition because they were attacked.
© 2010 AFP