Rights Group: Israeli Lethal Force Against Protesters May Be War Crime

Alexandr Scherbak  TASS

It also condemns the use of force by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians, and calls for Israel to open "access into and out of the Gaza Strip". It also seeks recommendations to protect Palestinian civilians. It was put forward in the General Assembly by Algeria, Turkey and the Palestinians after the United States vetoed a similar resolution in the 15-member U.N. Security Council earlier this month.

The US amendment - holding Hamas responsible for rocket attacks against Israel, the destruction of crossing points delivering humanitarian aid from Israel into Gaza, and the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields - won the support of 62 member states, but only after an attempt led by the Algerian delegation to prevent a vote outright failed.

In December 128 countries defied President Donald Trump and voted in favor of a U.N. General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The resolution calls on U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres to propose an "international protection mechanism" for the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley appealed, citing another rule that says only a majority vote was required. After a short break, Lajcak put the USA appeal to a vote.

The permanent observer of the Palestinian mission to the United Nations, ambassador Riyad Mansour said that the USA amendment was offered in "bad faith" and said that the "illegal, belligerent, military occupation is the primary source and root cause of the recurrent and emergent crises we face".

While Security Council resolutions are legally binding, General Assembly resolutions are not, although assembly spokesman Brendan Varma stressed Wednesday that they do reflect "political will" as well as worldwide opinion.

Haley said in a statement afterward that "in the face of Hamas terrorists routinely inciting violence. today the United Nations made the morally bankrupt judgment that the recent Gaza violence is all Israel's fault". "Such behavior is hypocritical at best, and at worst amounts to openly emboldening an internationally recognized terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of countless of innocent people".

Israeli forces have killed more than 120 Palestinians since 30 March, according to a United Nations tally. The overwhelming majority of the dead and wounded have been unarmed, according to Gaza health officials. "That´s why we are here today", said Haley.

Palestinian medics and protesters evacuate a wounded youth near the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, during a protest east of Khan Younis, in the Gaza Strip, Friday, June 8, 2018. The Palestinian, Turkish, Venezuelan, Bangladeshi and Bolivian representatives were among those whose speeches compared Israel to the former apartheid regime in South Africa, invoked the Arabic word "Naqba" ("catastrophe", a common term in the Arab world to describe Israel's creation 70 years ago) and accused Israel of committing war crimes. Two-thirds of Gaza's 2 million residents are descendants of refugees.

The draft resolution being considered Wednesday was proposed by Arab and Islamic countries.

The General Assembly text condemned the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israeli civilian areas, but did not mention Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza.

The U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution condemning Israel's use of excessive force on Palestinian civilians. Canada abstained on the final Arab-supported resolution.

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