ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 141

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UN human rights chief: Israel, Palestinians fail to probe war crimes

In new report, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein censures sides’ non-compliance with ‘calls for accountability’ by international community

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein delivers a speech at the opening of the 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council on September 8, 2014 in Geneva. (AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein delivers a speech at the opening of the 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council on September 8, 2014 in Geneva. (AFP/Fabrice Coffrini)

The UN high commissioner for human rights on Monday accused both Israel and the Palestinian Authority of failing to properly investigate and prosecute war crimes charges.

In a newly published report quoted by Reuters, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein noted “repeated failure” by Israel “to comply with the calls for accountability made by the entire human rights system. He urged Jerusalem “to conduct prompt, impartial and independent investigations of all alleged violations of international human rights law and all allegations of international crimes.”

Al-Hussein also criticized “”the State of Palestine’s non-compliance with the calls for accountability” and called on Palestinians “to conduct prompt, impartial and independent investigations of all alleged violations of international human rights law and all allegations of international crimes.”

Last week the human rights chief decried 50 years of Israeli control of the West Bank, “which has denied the Palestinians many of their most fundamental freedoms,” invoking the Jewish Holocaust while simultaneously asserting that he was not comparing the experiences of the two peoples.

In a statement marking the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six Day War, al-Hussein said the Palestinians “deserve freedom, as all peoples do. They deserve to bring up their children safe in their homes, on their land, exercising their rights in their state, free from this long and bitter occupation.”

He noted, however, that Israelis too “have suffered grievously” from Palestinian attacks.

The UN Human Rights council has been under fire from Washington recently, with US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley threatening last week that the US could withdraw from the council unless it reforms, including by removing its built-in procedural mechanism to bash Israel.

As a first step, the Council has to make sure to exclude the worst violators of human rights, Haley said. Secondly, the Council needs to abolish the infamous Agenda Item 7 (“the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories”), which singles out Israel for perpetual censure.

Since 2007, Israel has been the only country whose alleged human rights abuses are regularly discussed in the framework of a single permanent item on the Human Rights Council’s agenda.

AP contributed to this report.

 

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