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UN Human Rights Council approves int’l probe into Israeli crimes in Gaza

Palestinians carry away an injured protester who was shot with a live bullet in his leg during clashes with Israeli forces east of Gaza City on May 15, 2018, amidst protests marking 70th anniversary of Nakba and against the US' relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds. (Photo by AFP)

The UN's top human rights body has voted in favor of a resolution calling for “urgently” sending an independent commission to investigate Israeli deadly attacks on peaceful Palestinian protesters.

The UN Human Rights Council voted Friday to "urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry" -- the council's highest-level of investigation -- to probe the killing of Gaza protesters by Israeli troops.

The resolution was adopted by 29 votes. Only two of the council's 47 members, the United States and Australia, voting against it, while 14 abstained, including Britain, Switzerland and Germany.

The text said the team of international war crimes investigators should “investigate all alleged violations and abuses... in the context of the military assaults on large scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018, ... including those that may amount to war crimes."

The special UN session comes after more than 100 Gazans were killed by Israeli snipers in six weeks of protests dubbed the "Great March of Return", which began on March 30 and climaxed on May 15, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), when Israel was created.

Tens of thousands of people have been protesting along the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and occupied territories, calling for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to be allowed to return to their homes now inside Israel. Israeli forces killed at least 62 Gazans in a single day of protests that coincided with Monday's move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

Earlier on Friday, the UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, opened the special session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, saying Israel has systematically deprived Palestinians of their human rights, with 1.9 million in Gaza "caged in a toxic slum from birth to death."

The official backed calls for an international probe into Israel's deadly reaction to protests along the Gaza fence which he described as "wholly disproportionate."

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki welcomed the Friday resolution.

“The Human Rights Council's formation of an international committee of investigation is a step towards doing justice to the Palestinian people,” he said in a statement, calling for speedy implementation "to stop Israeli war crimes".

Meanwhile, Tel Aviv’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Aviva Raz Shechter, criticized the resolution as "shameful" and "biased".

US representative Theodore Allegra also echoed Raz Shechter’s remarks, condemning the council's "biased focus on Israel".

Protests held worldwide against Israeli crimes in Gaza

Israeli massacre of Gazans sparked outrage across the world, prompting people in several Muslim countries to hold rallies to condemn Israel’s recent killing of Palestinians and the relocation of the US embassy to al-Quds.

Iranians took to the streets on Friday to express their solidarity with the Palestinians.

Iranians burn Israeli flags as they take part in an anti-US and Israel demonstration after weekly Friday prayers in the capital Tehran on May 18, 2018, to show their solidarity with Palestinians over recent violent events in Gaza. (Photo by AFP)

In Turkey’s city of Istanbul, a huge crowd took part in a rally called by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in solidarity with Palestinians.

This handout picture taken and released by the Turkish Presidential Press Service on May 18, 2018 shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C, bottom) taking part in a protest rally in Istanbul against the recent killings of Palestinian protesters along the border between Gaza and the occupied territories and the US embassy move to Jerusalem al-Quds. (Photo by AFP)

Jordanians also protested in Amman, chanting slogans against the US and Israel.

Meanwhile, people in Pakistan staged anti-Israel rallies in the capital Islamabad and in the port city of Karachi.

Pakistani demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against the killing of Palestinians protesting at the Gaza border and the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds, in Islamabad on May 18, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Similar protests also took place in India’s capital, New Delhi, where Muslim and social activists and students condemned Israel’s atrocities in Gaza, and the relocation of the US embassy to al-Quds.

Indian Muslims, social activists and students shout slogans against Israel during a demonstration in New Delhi on May 18, 2018. (Photo by AFP)


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