UN rights council approves probe into Israel's ship raid

2nd June 2010, Comments 0 comments

The UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday adopted a resolution setting up an independent international probe into Israel's interception of Gaza-bound ships.

The resolution, which also condemned Israel's "outrageous attack," was adopted after a vote, with 32 countries voting in favour, three against, and eight abstentions.

It "decides to dispatch an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian aid and human rights law, resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance."

The text also decides to "authorise the president of the council to appoint members of this independent international fact finding system."

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 Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to ask for the special session of the 47 member states in the rights council.

It also drove Pakistan, Sudan and the Palestinian delegation to propose the resolution during the urgent sitting, during which countries ranging from Laos to Peru to Iceland all spoke out against Israel's move.

The United States said it was "deeply disturbed" by the violence but opposed the resolution.

US ambassador Eileen Donahoe said the text "rushes to judgement on a set of facts" that were only starting to emerge.

"It creates an international mechanism before giving the responsible government the opportunity to investigate the incident itself," she added.

The Netherlands also voted against, with its envoy saying that the call for a "parallel investigation" into the raid by the council "would not be conducive to relaunching the Middle East peace process."

Israeli ambassador Aharon Leshno Yaar did not refer to the resolution when he spoke ahead of the vote, but he reiterated that the activists onboard the raided ship did not have peaceful motives.

He noted that Molotov cocktails, clubs and iron bars were used against Israeli soldiers.

He also claimed that "large quantities of cash were also found on board, some in the pockets of the attackers and most in courier belts ready for transfer to the Hamas."

© 2010 AFP

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