In a year long report by the UN’s Human Rights Commission of Inquiry, which focused primarily on Israeli and not Hamas violence, investigators accused Israeli Defense Forces of committing war crimes in their lethal response to Palestinian demonstrations in Gaza. The 22-page report said Israeli forces killed 189 people and shot more than 6,100 others. The United Nations Panel stated that it had found “reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot at journalists, health workers, children and persons with disabilities, knowing they were clearly recognisable as such”.
The UN panel also recommended that UN members consider imposing individual sanctions, such as a travel ban or an assets freeze, on those identified as responsible by the commission.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forcefully rejected the report, saying: “The [UN] council has set new records of hypocrisy and lies out of an obsessive hatred for Israel.”
In the US, Republican lawmakers also spoke out against the UN report and in support of Israel’s right to self-defense.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), a ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, was among those who issued a statement on the matter.
“This one-sided, highly biased and woefully inaccurate report fails to take into account key facts; most evidently, Hamas’s provocation and orchestration of this violence, its purposeful destabilization of order along the border and its continued incursions into Israel’s sovereign soil, including the launching of over 10,000 rockets and mortars on Israeli towns and villages, and the dozens of tunnels, enabling their death squads, since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza,” Zeldin wrote.
This newly released 1-sided, biased & woefully inaccurate @UN_HRC report fails to mention a ton of critical facts re the terrorist activities of Hamas & the inherent right of self defense our key ally Israel possesses & must utilize. https://t.co/pC1aHPy5S3
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) March 1, 2019
But in Europe, there were some politicians who were quick to condem Israel. The UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, known for his pro-Hamas stand, renewed his call for a British arms embargo against Israel after the UN report saying that Israeli Defense Forces have likely committed war crimes on the Gaza border. “The UK government must unequivocally condemn the killings and freeze arms sales to Israel,” Corbyn tweeted
The UN says Israel’s killings of demonstrators in Gaza – including children, paramedics and journalists – may constitute “war crimes or crimes against humanity”.
The UK government must unequivocally condemn the killings and freeze arms sales to Israel.https://t.co/oFHA9MlHoM
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) February 28, 2019