NEW YORK – Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon condemned the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday after it approved a decision to open an independent investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes on the Gaza border.
“The fact that this shameful decision was made even after Hamas officials admitted that the vast majority of those killed were terrorists proves, once again, that nothing can separate this council from its hatred of Israel,” Danon said in a statement.
“The day this Council investigates the war crimes of Hamas is the day it can be called the Human Rights Council,” he added.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley also issued a strongly worded rebuke of the UNHRC, saying: “At a time when Venezuela lurches toward dictatorship, Iran imprisons thousands of political opponents, and ethnic cleansing has taken place in Burma, the UN’s so-called Human Rights Council has decided to launch an investigation into a democratic country’s legitimate defense of its own border against terrorist attacks. It is another shameful day for human rights.”
Earlier this week, mass riots on the Gaza-Israel border led to 60 Palestinians being killed and more than 1,700 wounded.
The demonstrations, known collectively as “The Great March of Return,” coincided with the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
The protests had been held every week since March 30, with more than 100 people being killed and thousands injured during that time. The scope of the violence hit its peak last Monday, culminating in the bloodiest day in Gaza since Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
Following the shootings, Israel has faced strident condemnation for what has been labeled “disproportionate” force against unarmed Palestinians. The lone holdout was the United States, which insisted Israel has a right to defend itself from the violent demonstrations and from those trying to infiltrate its borders.
The IDF said many of the Palestinians shot on Monday were carrying weapons, hurling Molotov cocktails or trying to damage the border fence.
Hamas leaders later took to local media outlets in Gaza to claim that at least 50 of those killed in the demonstrations were members of the terrorist organization.
The UNHRC decision came just one day after Kuwait circulated a draft resolution calling for an international force to be deployed to Gaza in order to protect Palestinian civilians from Israel.
“The cynicism and attempts to distort reality have reached a new low. Israel will continue to defend its sovereignty and the security of its citizens against the terror and murderous violence of Hamas,” Danon said.
“This shameful draft resolution is a proposal to support Hamas’s war crimes against Israel and the residents of Gaza who are being sent to die for the sake of preserving Hamas’s rule,” he added.