UN General Assembly gives go-ahead to Israeli war crimes inquiry

The General Assembly has approved an open-ended inquiry into Israel’s actions in Israel, Gaza, and Judea and Samaria. 

By World Israel News staff

The United Nations General Assembly has approved a motion to set up an open-ended inquiry into war crimes by Israel, the first of its kind by the supranational organization.

In May, Israel harshly criticized the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) after it passed a resolution to launch a Commission of Inquiry against Israel for alleged war crimes, and called for an arms embargo against the Jewish state, following the Israel-Gaza conflict in May.

Twenty-four states, including Bahrain with which Israel had recently signed a peace treaty, supported the motion, nine voted against it, and 14 countries abstained. No European country supported the motion.

The vote was the first time that the UNHRC had voted to establish a permanent fact-finding mission on any UN member state.

On Thursday, the commission came before the UN General Assembly for budgetary approval, and was passed by 125 countries voting in support.

Eight countries were in opposition: Israel, the US, Hungary and the Pacific nations of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Papua New Guinea. There were also 34 abstentions, including Germany, Australia, Canada and Brazil.

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Speaking at the meeting, Israel’s representative said the commission was “yet another example of a grossly discriminatory and fraudulent body that this distinguished forum should be working to abolish,” adding that the commission “pre-assumes Israeli violations of international law rather than presuming innocence as is required.”

Israel’s UN envoy Gilad Erdan said in a statement: “The UN fell to a new low and approved a budget for a despicable and biased commission that has no right to exist.” He added that the inquiry ignores war crimes by Hamas, including the more than 4,000 rockets fired at Israel in May.

The commission was heavily criticized by Israeli leaders when first announced by the UNHRC in May. Then Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the time: “Once again, an immoral automatic majority at the Council whitewashes a genocidal terrorist organization that deliberately targets Israeli civilians while turning Gaza’s civilians into human shields. This while depicting as the ‘guilty party’ a democracy acting legitimately to protect its citizens from thousands of indiscriminate rocket attacks,” he stated.

“This travesty makes a mockery of international law and encourages terrorists worldwide,” he added.