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UN rights panel urges end to Israel international law violations in Gaza offensive

[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council [official website] on Thursday denounced recent Israeli military operations [press release] in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and voted to approve a resolution [PDF text] calling on Israelis and Palestinians to refrain from violence against civilians, saying the Israeli offensive breaches international humanitarian law. In the resolution, the Council expressed

deep concern at the breaches by Israel, the occupying Power, of international humanitarian law and human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the arbitrary arrest of Palestinian ministers, members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and other officials, as well as the arbitrary arrest of other civilians, the military attacks against Palestinian ministries, including the office of the Premier, and the destruction of Palestinian infrastructure, including water networks, power plants and bridges.
The Council also voted by a margin of 39-11 with five abstentions to send a fact-finding mission to Gaza led by UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories John Dugard [official website].

The resolution, proposed by the Organization of the Islamic Conference [advocacy website], originally required only Israelis to refrain from violence against civilians, but the Council would not approve the proposal until it included Palestinians as well. Dugard told the Council during Wednesday's emergency session that Israel's military offensive in Gaza violates "fundamental norms" of human rights [JURIST report] and humanitarian law, reporting that civilians in Gaza lacked water, food and medicine. AP has more. The UN News Centre has additional coverage.

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