Arab news

UN-mandated rights inquiry rebukes Israel for seeking ‘complete control’

The report called for additional action to ensure equal enjoyment of human rights, saying that “ending the occupation alone will not be enough”.

The report cited evidence showing that Israel “does not intend to end the occupation” and is seeking “full control” over what it calls the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, taken by Israel in the 1967 war.

Israel boycotted the investigation and banned the entry of its investigators.

“This is a biased and unilateral report that is tainted with hatred towards the State of Israel and builds on a number of previous unilateral and biased reports,” said the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Drawing on the 11-day May 2021 conflict, in which 250 Gazan Palestinians and 13 Israelis died, the investigative mandate includes alleged human rights violations before and after that, and aims to explore the root causes of tensions.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price reiterated Washington’s opposition to the investigation and said the report did nothing to alleviate US concerns about “a unilateral, biased approach that does nothing to advance hopes for peace.”

Citing an Israeli law that denies naturalization to Palestinians married to Israelis, the report accuses the country of providing “different civil status, rights and legal protection” for Arab minorities. Israel says such measures protect national security and the Jewish character of the country.

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but with Egypt’s help it is tightening the borders of the enclave currently run by Hamas Islamists. Palestinian authorities enjoy limited autonomy in the West Bank, which is populated by Israeli settlements.

Sworn to Israel’s destruction, Hamas launched the May 2021 war with rocket attacks in retaliation for Israeli police clashes with Palestinians near Al-Masjid al-Aqsa, Islam’s third holiest site, and after moves to evacuate Palestinian families from East Jerusalem.

The Gaza war was accompanied by street violence, which is rarely seen within Israel among Jewish and Arab citizens.

Hamas welcomed the report and demanded that Israeli leaders be prosecuted for crimes against the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian Authority also praised the report and called for accountability “in a way that ends Israel’s impunity”.

The report will be discussed at the Geneva-based Human Rights Council next week. The body cannot make legally binding decisions.

The US left the Council in 2018 because of what it describes as “chronic prejudice” against Israel and only fully rejoined this year.

Unusually, the three-member commission of inquiry from Australia, India and South Africa has an open-ended mandate. One diplomat said his jurisdiction is already a sensitive issue. “People don’t like the idea of ​​permanence,” he said.

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