United Nations body orders probe of 'systematic' abuses in Israel, Palestinian areas

United Nations body orders probe of 'systematic' abuses in Israel, Palestinian areas

Thursday's session marks the 30th extraordinary meeting since the Human Rights Council's creation 15 years ago.

The remarks by Michelle Bachelet came as the UN's top human rights body opened a one-day special session to discuss the plight faced by Palestinians in the fighting this month. Some 357 people in Israel were wounded.

It also urges countries to "refrain from transferring arms when they assess. that there is a clear risk that such arms might be used in the commission or facilitation of serious violations or abuses".

The 11-day war killed at least 248 in Gaza, including 66 children and 39 women.

The U.N. Human Rights Council will hold a special session focused on Israel Thursday to consider launching a broad, global investigation into abuses during the violence.

"Air strikes in such densely populated areas resulted in a high level of civilian fatalities and injuries, as well as the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure", Bachelet said.

"If found to be indiscriminate and disproportionate in their impact on civilians and civilian objects, such attacks may constitute war crimes", she warned.

She also derided tactics of Hamas that included locating military assets in densely populated civilian areas, and firing rockets from them.

In an apparent allusion to tactics of Hamas, she said it was a violation of global humanitarian law to locate military assess in densely populated civilian areas, or to launch attacks from them.

Blinken met both Israeli and Palestinian leaders during two days of talks, throwing Washington's support behind the Egyptian-brokered truce that ended 11 days of heavy Israeli bombing of Gaza and rocket fire from the impoverished coastal enclave into Israel.

The investigators, the text said, should probe "all alleged violations and abuses" of worldwide law linked to the tensions that sparked the latest violence, but also "underlying root causes of recurrent tensions and instability, including systematic discrimination and repression based on group identity".

Thursday's resolution ordered the launching of an investigation into violations surrounding the latest violence, but also into "systematic" abuses spurring a repetitive cycle of violence over the decades.

Before the vote, Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, slammed the session and the resolution, insisting that they were yet another example of the council's bias against Israel.

"What would you do if rockets were fired at Dublin, Paris, or Madrid", she asked.

It added that the foreign minister lauded the efforts of Pakistani missions in Geneva and NY to highlight the Palestine issue.

"The Israeli war machinery and terrorism of its settlers continue to target our children who face murder, arrest and displacement, deprived of a future in which they can live in peace and security", he said by video message.

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