UN Demands Probe of Gaza Deaths

An investigation should be launched into the deaths and injuries among Palestinian protesters at the hands of Israeli security forces, a broad section of countries demanded on Friday at the UN Human Rights Council.

The Geneva-based body was meeting for an extraordinary session in the wake of Monday’s mass protests, in which 60 Palestinians were killed and some 3,000 more wounded.

“Nobody has been made safer by the horrific events of the past week,” UN human rights chief, Zeid Al-Hussein said.

Israel’s unwarranted use of deadly force may be seen as a grave violation of international rules of war, he said.

Al-Hussein added that Palestinians are “dehumanized by the Israeli authorities to such a point it appears officials do not even consider that these men and women have a right, as well as every reason, to protest.”

“This council must help and must decide on an international, independent fact-finding mission,” Palestinian Ambassador, Ibrahim Khraish told the rights body.

A resolution to establish such a mission was set to come to a vote on Friday evening.

Drafted by Muslim countries, it was backed by African members of the council, while EU countries called for a probe of violations committed by “all parties.”

Israel’s Ambassador, Aviva Shechter, argued that her country must defend itself against the crude weapons used by some protestors, and against Palestinian Hamas militants.

“The loss of life could have been avoided had Hamas refrained from sending terrorists to attack Israel under the cover of the riots while exploiting its own civilian population as human shields,” she said.

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