UN General Assembly Votes To Fund War Crimes Probe of Israel

UN General Assembly Votes To Fund War Crimes Probe of Israel

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted overwhelmingly Thursday for a budgetary allocation to the UN Human Rights Council that includes funding an open-ended, permanent commission of inquiry to investigate alleged Israeli human rights violations in its treatment of Palestinians. The UN Human Rights Council first approved the commission of inquiry in May, after the war in and around the Gaza Strip. The commission’s mandate includes both Israeli actions during the war and alleged human rights violations in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and in Israel, itself. Sherry Zilbergeld, a counselor on the staff of Israel’s Permanent Mission to the UN assigned to the General Assemby’s 5th Committee, which is responsible for administrative and budgetary matters, urged the UNGA to vote for an amendment to the UNHRC funding resolution that would defund the investigation. She said the commission of inquiry was “unprecedented and dangerous in terms of the long-term budgetary implications for the UN organization as a whole” and called it a “mock court” against Israel. “Since its establishment in 2006,” she noted, “the UNHRC has set up 32 investigative bodies, with nine – nearly a third – of these focused exclusively on Israel” while no commission of inquiry was ever created to investigate the war crimes perpetrated by Hamas against Israeli civilians. Nevertheless, the UNGA rejected her proposed amendment and passed the UNHRC’s budget by a vote of 125-8, with 34 abstentions. The US representative, which supported the Israeli amendment, said the probe “perpetuates a practice of unfairly singling out Israel in the UN and, like prior US administrations, we strongly oppose such treatment of Israel.”

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