Israel is lambasting the United Nations Human Rights Council after it voted Wednesday to investigate possible Israeli violations of international law in Gaza while giving a pass to Hamas, which has fired more than 2,270 rockets at Israel in the past 17 days.
“There seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes,” Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said of recent Israeli military strikes on Gaza.
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni wrote on her Facebook page in response: “I have two words for you: Get lost.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday called the council’s decision a “travesty of justice” and said it would not stop Israel from doing what it needs “to protect our people” against Hamas rockets and the “vast network” of terror tunnels.
Netanyahu’s office had earlier issued a statement calling the U.N. probe “a parody” and “a kangaroo court.”
“The Human Rights Council should begin investigating Hamas’ decisions to turn hospitals into command centers and schools into weapons depots and to place rocket launchers next to playgrounds, private houses and mosques,” the prime minister’s office said.
Keith Harper, the United States ambassador to the U.N. council, criticized the lack of balance in the Palestinian-backed resolution.
The Times of Israel reported that Harper said the resolution lacked “any semblance of balance,” because it did not mention Hamas attacks.
Israeli envoy Eviator Manor said there “can be no moral symmetry between a terrorist aggressor and a democracy defending itself.”
“Hamas is committing war crimes when it fires rockets indiscriminately at Israel towns and villages. Hamas is protecting its launching sites with the civilian residents of Gaza. Another war crime,” Manor said. “And this council sits in judgment of Israel?”
Pillay, the U.N. human rights chief, did criticize Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians, including the firing of rockets from civilian areas.
But “the actions of one party do not absolve the other party of the need to respect its obligations under international law,” Pillay added.
Among the 29 countries who voted in favor of the probe were Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Indonesia, Kuwait, Algeria and Cuba. Seventeen nations abstained; only the U.S. voted against the investigation.
“The Human Rights Council turned into the terrorists’ rights council long ago. We will continue to combat terrorism and we will continue to fight hypocrisy and anti-Semitism within bodies like the Human Rights Council,” Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said according to Israel Hayom. “When countries like Cuba, Venezuela and the like vote against us, it means we’re doing something right.”