Israel rebukes Spanish, Slovenian envoys for backing UN Gaza probe

Belgium’s ambassador will also be summoned over country’s support for Human Rights Council investigation into deaths on border

Israel's Ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter gestures during a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on May 18, 2018, which voted for an investigation into Gaza border violence.  (AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)
Israel's Ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter gestures during a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on May 18, 2018, which voted for an investigation into Gaza border violence. (AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)

Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned the Spanish and Slovenian ambassadors to Israel for a dressing down over their respective countries’ support for a UN probe into the IDF over the deaths of Palestinians on the Gaza border last week.

Both countries were among the 29 to overwhelmingly support the Human Rights Council-led investigation into the border violence, in which over 60 Palestinians were killed and which Israel has blamed on Hamas.

The Belgian envoy to Israel will be reprimanded on Tuesday, the ministry said.

The UN’s top human rights body backed a resolution on Friday calling on the council to “urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry”  — the council’s highest-level of investigation. Almost all of the dead were members of Hamas, the terror group has acknowledged.

The council voted 29 in favor and two against, with 14 countries abstaining. Australia and the US were the two countries to oppose the decision. The council also condemned “the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians.”

The inquiry mandated by the council will be asked to produce a final report next March.

Belgium last week summoned the Israeli envoy for a reprimand following remarks she made on a local radio station, saying all of those killed were terrorists.

The UN Human Rights Council vote came after seven straight weeks of mass protests and clashes along the Gaza border with Israel.

Israel has blamed the Hamas terror group that rules the Strip for the violence in Gaza, saying it co-opted the protests and has used them as cover to attempt border infiltrations and attacks on Israelis.

On Wednesday, a Hamas official said that 50 of the 62 killed on Monday and Tuesday were members of the group, and the Islamic Jihad terror group claimed another three as its members.

A Palestinian uses a slingshot during clashes with Israeli forces along the border with the Gaza Strip, east of Gaza City, on May 18, 2018. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

Israel said Friday that it will not cooperate with the investigation and  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the vote and the council as “irrelevant.”

“The organization that calls itself the Human Rights Council again proved it is a hypocritical and biased body whose purpose is to harm Israel and back terror, but mostly it proved it is irrelevant,” Netanyahu added.

“The State of Israel will continue to defend its citizens and soldiers,” he said.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry completely rejected the decision, saying all that it proved was that the council had “an automatic anti-Israel majority, where hypocrisy and the absurd held sway.”

“The results of this investigation are a forgone conclusion and are written in the text of the decision itself,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “It is clear to all that the aim of this council is not to investigate the truth, but to undermine Israel’s right to self-defense and to uniquely demonize the Jewish state.”

Israel accused the council of systematically ignoring real human rights violations around the world and instead “adopting far more resolutions against Israel than against all the rest of the countries in the world combined.”

The Israeli statement said Israel’s actions were completely legal and intended to “protect our sovereignty and prevent a mass assault against the border with the intention of killing Israelis and carrying out terror attacks.”

Hamas, which rules the Strip, welcomed the decision “to probe Israel’s war crimes and violence.”

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed