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UN rights council criticizes Israel for Gaza violations

[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council [official website] Thursday adopted a resolution [draft text, PDF] criticizing Israel for recent military attacks and a week-long blockade [JURIST report] against the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip that the Council says amount to human rights violations. The resolution, passed by a 30-1 vote with 15 Western states abstaining, calls the military attacks on Palestinian areas "grave violations of the human and humanitarian rights of the Palestinian civilians therein" that "undermine international efforts" in the region. The resolution also:

2. Calls for urgent international action to put an immediate end to the grave violations committed by the occupying Power, Israel, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the series of incessant and repeated Israeli military attacks and incursions therein and the siege of the occupied Gaza Strip;

3. Demands that the occupying Power, Israel, lift immediately the siege it has imposed on the occupied Gaza Strip, restore continued supply of fuel, food and medicine and reopen the border crossings;

4. Calls for immediate protection of the Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in compliance with human rights law and international humanitarian law;

5. Urges all parties concerned to respect the rules of human rights law and international humanitarian law and to refrain from violence against the civilian population...
Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Mohammed Abu-Koash told Reuters that he hopes the resolution will prompt countries to pressure Israel to stop military action against the Palestinian territory. Earlier this week, Israel and the US said they would boycott [JURIST report] the Council's special session, noting that the resolution failed to mention rocket attacks Israel says justified the country's actions.

In December, Israeli human rights group Yesh Din criticized [JURIST report] the Israeli government for failing to investigate Palestinian killings allegedly committed by members of the Israel Defense Force [official website]. Israeli military officials later said that there was a 36 percent increase [JURIST report] of such investigations in 2007. In November, the Israeli Supreme Court blocked government plans to cut electricity [JURIST report] in the Gaza Strip, while allowing the continuation of fuel supply cuts. Reuters has more.

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