UN rights chief bemoans Israel's reaction to Gaza probe

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet disappointed that Israel dismissed UN report alleging it committed war crimes during Gaza riots.

Elad Benari,

Michelle Bachelet
Michelle Bachelet
Reuters

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday expressed disappointment with Israel over its "immediate dismissal" of a UN report about deadly violence by Israeli security forces against protesters in Gaza last year, The Associated Press reported.

The UN probe, set up by the UN Human Rights Council, investigated possible violations from the start of the “March of the Return” Gaza border riots on March 30, 2018 through to December 31.

"More than 6,000 unarmed demonstrators were shot by military snipers, week after week at the protest sites," it said in its report which was released last week.

"The Commission found reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot at journalists, health workers, children and persons with disabilities, knowing they were clearly recognizable as such," it added.

Israel rejected the findings of the UN probe, calling it "hostile, deceitful and biased."

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the report, saying, "Israel rejects outright the report of the UN Human Rights Council. The council sets new records of hypocrisy and lies, out of obsessive hatred of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.”

“Hamas is the one which fires rockets at Israeli civilians, throws bombs and carries out terrorist activities during the violent demonstrations along the fence,” he added.

Wednesday's comments from Bachelet, a former Chilean president, came during her first annual address to the Human Rights Council since becoming the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in September.

She lamented that Israel responded to the report on the Gaza violence "without addressing any of the serious issues raised", according to AP.

The weekly border riots, which have been going on for nearly a year, have included Gazans attempting to infiltrate into Israel, as well as using kites and balloons with explosives attached in order to set fire to Israeli property.

Hamas openly admitted that most of the Gazans who were killed in the border riots were members of the group.

Despite this fact, the terrorist group welcomed the UN probe and called for Israel to be held accountable.

"The report indicates beyond any doubt that the Israeli occupation has committed clear war crimes against the Palestinians who came out to protest peacefully to demand the right of return and lift the siege," said senior Hamas official Bassem Naim.

He called on "the international community to hold the Israeli occupation accountable for the war crimes that it continues to commit against the Palestinians."




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