The UN Human Rights Council voted Friday to send a team of international war crimes investigators to probe the deadly shootings of Gaza protesters by Israeli forces.
With 29 votes in favor, two opposed and 14 abstentions, the UN's top human rights body voted through a resolution calling on the council to "urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry... to investigate all alleged violations and abuses... in the context of the military assaults on large scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018."
Israel argues that the UNHRC has an institutional bias against the Jewish state and pays it disproportionate attention compared to human rights crises elsewhere. On Thursday the Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called on his government to pull out of the council, even though Israel is not a member.Addressing the session's opening in Geneva, UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called Israel's response to the Gaza demonstrations was "wholly disproportionate" and warned that "killing resulting from the unlawful use of force by an occupying power may also constitute willful killings, a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention."
Al Hussein also said that Palestinians in Gaza are "caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity, dehumanized by the Israeli authorities."
The special session comes after a month and a half of mass protests and clashes along the Gaza border, calling for Palestinian refugees to be able to return to their homes now inside Israel.
The largest demonstrations coincided with the move of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday, which saw Israeli forces kill some 60 Palestinians including several minors, pushing the overall toll well over 100.