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Israel, US boycotting UN rights council meeting on Gaza blockade

[JURIST] Israel and the United States plan to boycott a special session [news release] of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] in Geneva Wednesday called to discuss possible human rights violations in Gaza in the wake of a blockade imposed by Israel [BBC report] on the area last Friday. Israel closed crossings into Gaza after more than 45 rockets attacks Israeli towns and then cut off electricity, fuel, and emergency aid. United Nations officials Tuesday chided Israel for its response to the rocket attacks [Zeenews report], saying it was targeting civilians in illegal "collective punishment" and not Hamas-led militants. Israel and the US claim [Haaretz report] that the draft resolution [PDF text] presented to the UNHRC regarding the blockade fails to mention the rocket attacks as a justification. Other countries have refused to boycott the meeting, despite pressure from Israel.

On Tuesday the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website] warned of a pending humanitarian crisis in Gaza following Israel's action. Tens of thousands of Palestinians streamed into Egypt [BBC report] Wednesday after militants blasted gaps in a Gaza border wall, allowing people to cross over to buy needed food and supplies. AP has more.

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