Decides to Dispatch an Independent, International Commission of Inquiry to Investigate Human Rights Violations in the Context of Large-Scale Civilian Protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
GENEVA (18 May 2018) - The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted a resolution in which it decided to dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the context of large-scale civilian protests in the occupied Palestinian territory.
In the resolution, adopted by a vote of 29 in favour, two against, and 14 abstentions, the Council decided to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018. The Commission of Inquiry was to present an oral update to the Council at its thirty-ninth session and a final, written report at its fortieth session.
The Council condemned the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians, including in the context of peaceful protests, particularly in the Gaza Strip, and called for an immediate cessation of all attacks, incitement and violence against civilians throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and it called on all parties to ensure that future demonstrations remain peaceful and to abstain from actions that could endanger the lives of civilians. Finally, the Council called upon Israel, the occupying power, and all relevant parties to cooperate fully with the commission of inquiry and facilitate its access.
Introducing the draft text was Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The United States and South Africa spoke in general comments.
Speaking in an explanation of the vote before and after the vote were: Belgium also on behalf of Spain and Slovenia, Germany also on behalf of Croatia and Slovakia, Australia, Hungary, United Kingdom and Mexico.
Israel and State of Palestine spoke as concerned countries.
Before adopting the resolution, the Council concluded its discussion on the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory. In the discussion, speakers recognized and supported the right of the Palestinians to self-determination, and regretted the recent events that undermined prospects for peace, noting that the transfer of the United States embassy to Jerusalem had contributed to the violence. Speakers noted that the mass killing and wounding of unarmed and defenceless protesters in the Gaza Strip should not come as a surprise given the impunity granted to Israel. Member States had to be aware that such indulgence did not remain without consequences because it encouraged Israel to continue to violate international law and commit more crimes. Speakers urged the international community and the Council to strongly condemn the recent violence and bloodshed in the occupied Palestinian territory, and to subject them to international investigation. Other speakers
said the special session distorted the truth. The truth was that Hamas was an organization that sought to destroy Israel, using thousands of civilians as a shield. Hamas was fully responsible for the violence on the Gaza-Israel border. They asked how could the recent violence be condemned without referring to the role of Hamas in inciting it, and without a reference to the hatred fuelled by that terrorist organization towards Israeli civilians.
Speaking in the discussion were Luxembourg, Argentina, Guinea, Albania, Niger, Somalia and Djibouti.
The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Independent Commission for Human Rights, International Commission of Jurists, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, United Nations Watch, Defence for Children International, World Jewish Congress, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Conseil international pour le soutien à des procès équitables et aux droits de l’homme, The Palestinian Return Centre Ltd, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man, International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Caritas Internationalis International Confederation of Catholic Charities, Human Rights Watch, Institute for NGO Research, Norwegian Refugee Council, World Council of Churches, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme, CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Habitat International Coalition, International Fellowship of Reconciliation, Indian Movement Tupaj Amaru, International Lawyers.org, Amnesty International, Instituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco, International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development – VIDES, ADALAH – Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, and Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations.
The special session opened this morning and a summary of the morning meeting can be found here.
This was the Human Rights Council’s twenty-eighth special session. Documentation relating to the special session is available on the Human Rights Council webpage.
The thirty-eighth regular session of the Human Rights Council will take place from 18 June to 6 July 2018.
Luxembourg considered that the violence carried out recently by Israeli forces was unacceptable. This was excessive use of force, and in breach of international humanitarian law. Luxembourg had already called on Israeli forces not to shoot at crowds of demonstrators. It was in favour of an independent investigation. Luxembourg
called on the parties to shoulder their responsibilities and refrain from any actions that could jeopardize a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Argentina expressed its deep concern at the acts of violence in Gaza in recent days, the escalation of which had led to a tragedy not just for the Palestinian people, but for humankind. The excessive and disproportionate use of force was in violation of international human rights. All parties had to act responsibly. Argentina reiterated its desire for the peace process to resume, so that there could be a sovereign State for Palestinians within the pre-1967 borders.
Guinea firmly condemned the acts carried out by the occupying force of Israel. The only crime of the Palestinians was their wish to live a life in dignity and freedom. Guinea reaffirmed its solidarity with the Palestinian people and called on the international community to shoulder its responsibility and to ensure a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital and in accordance with the pre-1967 borders.
Albania was deeply concerned about the escalation of violence and loss of human lives at the Gaza fence, resulting in a high number of Palestinians killed and injured. The right to protest peacefully was a fundamental human right to be respected by all. Albania shared the view that an independent and transparent investigation was needed to understand what happened and why. It welcomed the convening of this special session of the Human Rights Council as an important step.
Niger expressed solidarity with and deep compassion for the Palestinian people. It firmly condemned the use of excessive force by Israel against peaceful protesters in the Gaza Strip, who had been protesting the transfer of the United States embassy to Jerusalem. Niger called on Israel to respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and to assume responsibility for its acts.
Somalia affirmed its support for the just cause of the Palestinians to establish their own State with the capital in East Jerusalem. The violation of international law was not in the interest of peace in the Middle East. Somalia condemned the use of excessive force against Palestinian civilians, welcomed the holding of the special session of the Human Rights Council, and called for the unanimous adoption of the draft resolution.
Djibouti recognized and supported the right of Palestinians to self-determination, and regretted the recent events that had undermined prospects for peace. Israel’s disregard for international resolutions had led to the explosion of violence in the Gaza Strip. Djibouti asked Israel to respect its international obligations, to end the blockade of Gaza, and to cease its settler policy. Djibouti restated its support for the oppressed Palestinian people.
Independent Commission for Human Rights called upon the Human Rights Council to investigate the excessive and disproportionate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian citizens. It requested the Council to look into the grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by the Israeli occupying forces in Gaza. Potentially amounting to war crimes, these violations were perpetrated against the peaceful Great March of Return and protests against the blockade on Gaza.
International Commission of Jurists was concerned at the many killings and serious injuries associated with the excessive, unjustified or otherwise unlawful use of force by Israel, including the killing of a number of children. It recalled that international human rights law permitted the use of lethal force only when strictly necessary to protect life. Excessive force, including lethal force, had apparently been used against unarmed persons who did not pose a threat to life.
International Federation for Human Rights Leagues strongly condemned the killing and injury of the Palestinians who had been peacefully protesting. The excessive use of force was in breach of international humanitarian law and human rights. Due to the silence of the United Nations Security Council, the Human Rights Council should establish an investigative body, and encourage the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into the alleged violations of international humanitarian law.
United Nations Watch noted that the special session distorted the truth. The truth was that Hamas was an organization that sought to destroy Israel, using thousands of civilians as a shield. The organization wondered how Council Member States would respond to a flood of terrorists. Israel had in fact protected the lives of Gazans; it should be commended for that and not condemned.
Defence for Children International drew attention to the fact that on 14 May Israeli forces had killed seven children with live ammunition during large-scale protests near Israel’s perimeter fence. The organization called on the Council to condemn the excessive use of force by Israel, to ensure accountability for unlawful killings in Gaza, and to demand an independent and transparent investigation into all incidents of excessive use of force.
World Jewish Congress held Hamas fully responsible for the violence on the Gaza-Israel border. How could the recent violence be condemned without referring to the role of Hamas in inciting it, and without a reference to the hatred fuelled by that terrorist organization towards Israeli civilians? How could demonstrations be labelled as peaceful? The organization urged the international community to call for the calm and accurate dissemination of information, and for the rejection of the draft resolution.
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies said it was clear that Israeli forces enjoyed a culture of impunity for acts that were in blatant violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. In a letter to this Council, 95 regional organizations had called on the Human Rights Council to conduct an independent and international investigation. They had also requested that the International Criminal Court immediately begin an active investigation into these and other crimes.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights said the Israeli armed forces policy of open fire was illegal and unacceptable. The Israeli State had invented a new legal basis that would justify the killing of people that were part of a crowd in a peaceful protest. Al Mezan called on the Human Rights Council to open an immediate, international and independent commission of inquiry to look into the facts of the recent events. It urged the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into the recent acts and to look into the root causes of the conflict.
Le Conseil International pour le soutien à des procès équitables et aux Droits de l'Homme said over the past seven weeks of peaceful protests, several thousand citizens had been injured and tens more killed. The blame lay with all governments that did not take action to end the killings. Mere lip service was not just insufficient, but may amount to an escalation to the violence that was in violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The only time to act was now.
The Palestinian Return Centre Ltd deplored Israel’s massacre of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. Israeli snipers deliberately gunned down peaceful protesters on the Gaza-Israel border on the day commemorating the Nakhba. The organization condemned the decision of the United States to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem, which would further embolden Israel.
Union of Arab Jurists condemned with abhorrence the ugly crimes perpetrated by Israeli forces against unarmed Palestinians in Gaza. The violence had been worsened by the decision of the United States to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem. It was one in a series of heinous crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians, which undermined regional peace and stability.
International Association of Democratic Lawyers reminded that Israel had violated international law with complete impunity for years. The mass killing and wounding of unarmed and defenceless protesters in the Gaza Strip should not come as a surprise given the impunity granted to Israel. However, Member States had to be aware that such indulgence did not remain without consequences because it encouraged Israel to continue to violate international law and commit more crimes.
Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man drew attention to the wilful killing by Israel of peaceful Palestinian civilians, reflecting complete disregard for the lives of Palestinians. Israel’s brutal suppression of the Great March of Return on the day of the Nakhba demonstrated that Israel was not accountable to anyone.
International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination said that the plight of the Palestinian people had not begun on 14 May or 30 March, but had been long-standing for several decades. It therefore called upon the United Nations Security Council to institute Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, especially considering the longevity of the occupation and the insistence of Israel to continue violations.
BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights said the wilful killings and excessive use of force targeting civilians in the Gaza Strip, despite Israel’s colonial and apartheid policies, aimed at displacing and transferring Palestinians out of their homes. Despite the creeping annexation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the international community had woefully failed to act, which constituted an umbrella of impunity for Israel’s ongoing violations of international law.
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom said the moving of the United States embassy in clear violation of international law had only stirred the violence. The League called on the Human Rights Council to establish an international and independent commission of inquiry to investigate all Israeli actions and to call on Israel to stop the violence. It also urged all States to seek accountability for Israel’s violations.
Caritas Internationalis International Confederation of Catholic Charities, in a joint statement, expressed deep concern about the renewed hatred and deadly violence in the Holy Land, along the Israel-Gaza border. It recalled that peaceful protest was a legitimate exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association. It urged both sides to redouble efforts towards a peaceful solution.
Human Rights Watch reminded that the Israeli forces had shot dead many Palestinians in demonstrations in Gaza since 30 March, including 14 children, and had injured more than 3,500 with live fire. The organization urged all Human Rights Council members to put principle before politics and to support an international inquiry into the latest bloodshed.
Institute for NGO Research noted that about 90 per cent of the casualties in the recent protests in Gaza were fighters. How many more times would the Human Rights Council be held hostage to Palestinian diversion? Was doing the bidding for Hamas the role of the United Nations? The Council should finally put an end to the farce and misuse of international bodies.
Norwegian Refugee Council noted that the 11-year old Israeli-imposed siege on Gaza was worsening the already precarious humanitarian crisis. It had gone unaddressed for too long. Meaningful action had to be taken by the Council to hold to account those responsible for the persistent violation of international law and collective punishment of the population before the crisis escalated.
World Council of Churches called on the international community and the Council to strongly condemn the recent violence and bloodshed in the occupied Palestinian territory, and to subject them to international investigation. It also urged it to accelerate all efforts towards a just and viable solution, which respected the aspiration of all the people living in the Holy Land.
Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme condemned most forcefully the wilful killings and disproportionate use of force perpetrated by the Israeli security forces against civilians in Gaza, which had become a prison. The Palestinians, living in utter destitution, had the right to protest this unbearable situation. This Human Right Council special session should seek an end of the hostilities, and a return to the roadmap for peace. The international community must protect the Palestinians and guarantee justice.
CIVICUS-World Alliance for Citizen Participation, in a joint statement, condemned the atrocities committed by the Israeli occupation forces against peaceful Palestinian protesters in Gaza. On 14 May alone, more than 61 Palestinians, including 8 children, were killed and nearly 3,000 wounded as Israeli forces used live ammunition on protesters who were demonstrating against the relocation of the United States embassy to Jerusalem. Since 30 March 2018, 110 Palestinians had been killed and over 12,000 had been wounded.
Habitat International Coalition said Israel’s recent acts epitomized its decade-old policies. Just after perpetrators of population transfer were prosecuted at Nuremberg and Tokyo, the world had witnessed the same acts by Israel. States’ failure to stop these violations spoke of the failure of the inter-State system not to recognize or cooperate with the illegal situation in Palestine. These acts inspired others to copy these crimes.
International Fellowship of Reconciliation said no accidental deaths were legitimate. Most Israeli conscripts were unwilling soldiers, who had been conscripted in their teens. It was the Israeli Government in whose name these violations had been perpetrated. The United States Government, which continued to consider Israel above the law, was also guilty and should be condemned.
Indian Movement “Tupaj Amaru” condemned the recent criminal attacks by the Israeli army against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and deplored the unusual transfer of the United States embassy to Jerusalem in violation of the United Nations Charter. The Palestinian people had been stripped of their territory and were being exterminated.
International-Lawyers.org noted that the massacre that had occurred on 14 May was another example of a war crime committed against the Palestinian people by Israel during the long occupation. Under international laws, people had the right to peaceful assembly and expression; these laws prohibited the use of lethal force against civilians unless they participated directly in acts of hostility.
Amnesty International was dismayed and alarmed about the mass killings and injuries of Palestinians in the context of the Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip. Eyewitness testimonies, video and photographic evidence suggested that many had been deliberately killed or injured while posing no imminent threat to Israeli soldiers and snipers.
Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco reminded that 2018 marked the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adding that the use of violence never led to peace, and that war only produced war. The organization called for the adoption of the draft resolution and the redoubling of efforts to ensure dialogue, justice and peace.
International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development VIDES expressed deep concern for the deaths and thousands wounded in the violence that took place near the Gaza border on 14 May. Consequently, violence only generated violence, war, and the loss of lives. Lasting peace and justice would be possible only in the absence of hate, violence and war. The United Nations, since its establishment, together with civil society actors, had always worked for peace, security and development. However, none of these would be attainable without the respect of human dignity and the promotion of human rights for all, whatever their religion and identity.
ADALAH – Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel said since 30 March, the Israeli military had responded to the demonstrators near the Gaza fence with lethal and excessive force, which had resulted to date in the killing of 86 people taking part in the demonstrations, including 12 children, two journalists, and the wounding of approximately 11,000. According to medical reports, 93 per cent of the fatally wounded were shot in the upper body with 45 per cent shot in the head, face and neck. Additionally, dangerous types of “explosive” bullets were used by the military, designed to cause massive wounds and irreparable damage.
Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations, in a joint statement, said Hamas, the terrorist group that ruled Gaza with severe brutality, bragged, in Arabic, about the true nature of the events happening at the fence between Gaza and Israel. They acknowledged that many, indeed most, of the dead were Hamas terrorists. They had shown videos of themselves breaching the fence with machetes yelling about slaughtering the Jews who lived hundreds of meters away from the fence in peaceful farming communities in Israel.
Action on the Resolution on Violations of International Law in the Context of Large-scale Civilian Protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
In a resolution (A/HRC/S-28/L.1) on violations of international law in the context of large-scale civilian protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, the Council condemns the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians, including in the context of peaceful protests, particularly in the Gaza Strip; calls for an immediate cessation of all attacks, incitement and violence against civilians throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; calls on all parties to ensure that future demonstrations remain peaceful and to abstain from actions that could endanger the lives of civilians; decides to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the context of the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018, to establish the facts and circumstances, to identify those responsible, to make recommendations, in particular on accountability measures, and to present an oral update to the Council at its thirty-ninth session and a final, written report at its fortieth session; calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, and all relevant parties to cooperate fully with the commission of inquiry and facilitate its access, requests the cooperation, as appropriate, of other relevant United Nations bodies with the commission of inquiry to carry out its mission, and requests the assistance of the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in this regard.
The results of the vote were as follows:
In favour (29): Afghanistan, Angola, Belgium, Brazil, Burundi, Chile, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.
Against (2): Australia and United States.
Abstentions (14): Croatia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Kenya, Panama, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Slovakia, Switzerland, Togo and United Kingdom.
Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, with the exception of Albania, introducing draft resolution S-28 on the violations of international law in the context of large-scale civilian protests in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, said the intention of the resolution was to investigate the violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in all occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, which had begun in March 2018. The operative part of the draft resolution condemned the indiscriminate use of force, particularly in the Gaza Strip, and called for an imminent cessation of all violence. The draft resolution called upon the Human Rights Council to establish a commission of inquiry with the aim of investigating all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, to identify those responsible, to make recommendations in view of accountability and criminal responsibility, and to present an oral update at its thirty-ninth session and a final written report on its fortieth session. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation urged the Member States of the Human Rights Council to adopt the resolution.
United States, in a general comment, strongly opposed the draft resolution and called for a vote on it. The draft resolution was another example of biased attitude towards Israel, which called into question the credibility of the Human Rights Council. Without any blame cast on Hamas, the draft resolution was biased, unacceptable, and simply wrong. There already was an agenda item devoted to a single country. The draft resolution would do nothing to promote human rights, but would do everything to keep the politicization for which the Council had become so notable. The United States would, thus, vote against the draft resolution and called on others to do the same.
South Africa, in a general comment, said it was reminded of how sleek and sleazy the Apartheid regime was in justifying atrocities. South Africa supported the draft resolution and called for the establishment of a commission of inquiry, which had become an effective manner to address emerging human rights crises everywhere in the world. It could not be that the mechanism was only devoted to settling geopolitical scores. The Council should not pick and choose to which countries it was applied. Commissions of inquiry were tried and tested, and above all proportionate. Those were legitimate mechanisms of the Human Rights Council. It was in the best interest of Palestinians and Israelis to finally find peace.
Israel, speaking as a concerned country, said today, this Council had served for hours a floor for incitement and spreading lies against Israel. Hours spent on naming and shaming Israel. Five hours of ludicrous statements and alleged human rights recommendations, made by some of the worse human rights violators. Hours spent on blaming Israel for protecting its citizens from a blood-thirsty terrorist organization. Israel urged the Council members to take the opportunity to act with morality, not to succumb to political manipulations of the facts, and not to allow the Council to become a playground for human rights abusers. Despite the facts presented to the Council, it chose to reward Hamas’s terror. It preferred to support the Palestinians’ de-legitimization effort rather than constructive dialogue with Israel.
Throughout the entire escalation of events, Israel had always acted with maximum restraint, fully committed to international law. There was no need for a United Nations mandated commission of inquiry, nor for any other external investigative body to determine what was already being investigated by the State of Israel, in a transparent, credible and prompt manner. Hamas was the aggressor and the one committing war crimes. It was time to open the eyes and mind to the truth. The resolution made no mention of Palestinian violence and incitement. It entirely disregarded Israel’s right and legal duty to defend its citizens. Unfortunately, the automatic anti-Israeli majority of the Council would once again prevail and the resolution would be adopted. But this would not change anything on the ground. Israel would continue to defend its citizens.
Palestine, speaking as a concerned country, said while following some of the observations, there was a feeling that it was Palestine that was occupying Israel. Was this a joke? Was it possible to watch Palestinians being killed for over 50 years, with the pretext that Israel was defending itself? What had happened on 30 of March and until today were deliberate killings. These acts were war crimes and crimes against humanity. Peaceful demonstrations were an absolute right of all peoples. The Council should set up an independent, international commission of inquiry to go and check the false claims by Israel – claims perpetrated from the very beginning. Israel was trying to control the entire world under the pretext that it was acting under self-defence. Palestinians wanted peace, and peace was based on a two-State solution, where the Palestinian people could exercise their right to self-determination and with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Law was not negotiable. Law was a set of imperative rules that must be implemented. Palestinians were ready to shoulder their responsibilities – if there were any allegations that they had acted not in accordance with the law, Palestinians were ready to be subjected to an investigation. However, they did not trust an Israeli investigation, due to so many incidents – including the 1993 incident whereby an Israeli who had killed 55 Palestinians, had been excused, on the grounds that he had psychological problems. Was it possible that all Israelis had a psychological problem? Perhaps they should be helped.
Belgium, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, made also on behalf of Spain and Slovenia, said that the convening of the special session was timely and appropriate, adding that Belgium was appalled by the excessive use of force against Palestinian civilians. Nevertheless, Hamas and protest leaders should also ensure that protests were peaceful. Belgium would have preferred a reference in the draft resolution to the legitimate right of Israel to defend itself through the use of proportionate force. But that omission was no reason to reject the draft resolution.
Germany, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, made also on behalf of Croatia and Slovakia, expressed concern about the recent killings in the Gaza Strip. The dreadful health situation in Gaza required facilitated entry of medical personnel and medicines. Germany in that sense commended Egypt for having opened an entry to Gaza. While recognizing its right to protect its borders, Germany urged Israel to use proportionate force, and to refrain from using lethal force against unarmed civilians. Hamas and protest leaders should ensure that protests remained non-violent. Germany regretted that the draft resolution did not reflect the role of non-State actors in Gaza, and it would thus abstain from voting.
Australia, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it was concerned that the language of the draft resolution prejudged the outcome of the inquiry. Australia was of the opinion that the inquiry must also acknowledge the role of Hamas, which was not mentioned at all. Furthermore, the draft resolution did not just cover Gaza where the events had occurred and the time period during which it had occurred, but had an unlimited time period and all areas. Australia was very concerned that it was not independent and impartial. For these reasons it would vote against it.
Hungary, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the draft resolution was one-sided and did not address the concerns of the European Union nor adequately address all key parties to the conflict. The Human Rights Council should deal with human rights and try to maintain a balance. Hungary was of the belief that while Israeli security forces must restrain from the use of force, and that the Palestinian right to protest was undeniable, throwing Molotov cocktails was not considered peaceful. Those inciting violence directly and knowingly put civilians at risk, and therefore were murderers and terrorists. The responsibility of all parties should be investigated. This included Hamas, which was considered as a terrorist organization by the European Union.
United Kingdom, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said more than 100 Palestinians had been killed in the protests in Gaza. This loss of life was tragic and concerning. The United Kingdom had also expressed concern that Hamas and Islamic Jihad had acknowledged that a substantial number of deaths were their militants. The United Kingdom could not support a resolution that was partial and imbalanced. Such investigations heightened the risk on both sides. Therefore, the United Kingdom would abstain from voting. The United Kingdom called directly on Israel to carry out an independent inquiry into the events.
The Council then adopted draft resolution L.1 by a vote of 29 in favour, two against, and 14 abstentions.
Mexico, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, considered that the Council had to promptly examine emergencies, such as the one in Gaza. Members of the Council had the responsibility to cooperate and to adopt adequate measures to guarantee the protection of the civil population, especially boys and girls. It was fundamental that the mandate of the commission of inquiry was not prejudiced, and that it was balanced, impartial and exhaustive in order to come up with balanced conclusions. The commission of inquiry should investigate actions by all sides.
For use of the information media; not an official record