The Human Rights Council, which held on Friday a special session on “the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem”, has joined its voice to that of many Arab, Islamic and European countries that have called for investigation in the excessive use of force by Israel against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The Council adopted a resolution calling to investigate the weeks of violence on the Israeli border with Gaza, which has claimed the lives of more than 100 people in the enclave and left thousands wounded.
The draft text called for the Council to “investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law” in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and particularly the occupied Ga za Strip, since 30 March; the date when demonstrations along the border with Israel began, dubbed the Great March of Return, a UN press release said.
The resolution was adopted by 29 votes in favor, with two against and 14 abstentions.
The special session was held at the request on Tuesday (May 15) by Palestine and the Arab States Group.
A day earlier, 60 demonstrators in Gaza were killed by Israeli forces, marking the highest one-day death toll in the territory since the 2014 hostilities.
According to UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who addressed the council, 87 Palestinians have been killed during the protests, including 12 children, and more than 12,000 injured; 3,500 of them by live ammunition fire.
“Palestinians have exactly the same human rights as Israelis do. They have the same rights to live safely in their homes, in freedom, with adequate and essential services and opportunities” said the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“And of this essential core of entitlements due to every human being, they are systematically deprived”, he continued, adding, “They are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; de-humanized 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.”
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that some demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails and used sling-shots to throw stones at Israeli soldiers. But this did not justify the use of lethal force and may be a breach of international law, he added.
Israel responded to the special session at the Human Rights Council saying that convening the meeting was evidence of its politically-motivated “anti-Israeli obsession”.