Israel Summons Spanish, Slovenian Envoys Over Vote at UN Human Rights Body Backing Gaza Probe

UN human rights body on Friday called for an international inquiry into the state of human rights in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza

United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Palestine, Michael Lynk delivers a video message on May 18, 2018 in Geneva, during a special session of the UN Human Rights Council to discuss "the deteriorating human rights situation" in the Palestinian territories, after Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians.
The UN human rights chief slammed Israel's deadly reaction to protests along the Gaza border as "wholly disproportionate", backing calls for an international investigation. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI

Spanish Ambassador to Israel Manuel Gómez-Acebo and Slovenian Ambassador to Israel Barbara Sušnik were summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on Monday after their countries' respective votes at the UN Human Rights Council on Friday in favor of an international inquiry into the state of human rights in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Belgian Ambassador to Israel Olivier Belle will be summoned on Tuesday.

Jerusalem blasted the decision and the council as being biased against Israel following the vote.

The special session of the Human Rights Council was convened after the bloodiest day for Palestinians in years last Monday, when 60 were killed by Israeli gunfire during demonstrations that Israel said included attempts to breach its frontier fence. 

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ripped into the UN organization, saying that "the body that calls itself the human rights council has once again proven that it is a hypocritical and biased organization whose goal is to harm Israel and support terrorism. More than anything, it shows how irrelevant it is. Israel blatantly rejects this anti-Israel decision and will continue to defend its citizens and soldiers as part of our right to self-defense."

The council voted 29-2 with 14 abstentions to back a resolution that also condemned "the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians." The "independent, international commission of inquiry" mandated by the council will be asked to produce a final report next March.

"Nobody has been made safer by the horrific events of the past week," UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein told the Council. 

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He said Israeli forces had killed 106 Palestinians, including 15 children, since March 30. More than 12,000 were injured, at least 3,500 by live ammunition. Israel is an occupying power under international law, obliged to protect the people of Gaza and ensure their welfare, he said.

"They [Gazans] are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; dehumanized by the Israeli authorities to such a point it appears officials do not even consider that these men and women have a right, as well as every reason, to protest," al-Hussein said.