The special session of the Human Rights Council was convened after at least 60 protesters were killed by Israeli forces at the Gaza-Israel border, making it the bloodiest day for Palestinians in years.

Israeli forces have killed at least 106 Palestinians, including 15 children, since March 30.
Israeli forces have killed at least 106 Palestinians, including 15 children, since March 30. (Reuters)

Israel railed against the UN Human Rights Council on Friday as it voted to set up a probe into recent killings in Gaza and accused Israel of an excessive use of force.

The special session of the Human Rights Council was convened after the bloodiest day for Palestinians in years on Monday saw at least 60 people killed by Israeli forces. The brutal response from Israel was evoked in response to the thousands of Palestinians gathered on Gaza’s eastern border to take part in protests aimed to commemorate the Nakba anniversary and to protest the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israeli forces have killed 106 Palestinians, including 15 children, since March 30, UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein said. More than 12,000 were injured, at least 3,500 by live ammunition.

The resolution to send a commission of inquiry to investigate was backed by 29 members of the 47-state UN forum, and rejected by the United States and Australia. Another 14 countries, including Britain, Germany and Japan, abstained.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al Maliki welcomed the UN decision.

“The Human Rights Council's formation of an international committee of investigation is a step towards doing justice to the Palestinian people,” he said in a statement. He urged speedy implementation "to stop Israeli war crimes".

Israel's Foreign Ministry said it totally rejected the resolution and its ambassador in Geneva, Aviva Raz Shechter, said the council was "spreading lies against Israel." 

"Toxic slum"

"Nobody has been made safer by the horrific events of the past week,"  Hussein said as he opened the debate.

"But they are, in essence, caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity; dehumanised 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."

Israel is an occupying power under international law, obliged to protect the people of Gaza and ensure their welfare, he said.

Two million people live in Gaza, most of them stateless descendants of Palestinians who were forced from homes after the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

Gaza has been called the world's largest open-air prison, and conditions on the strip have worsened since Israel imposed a full air, sea, and land blockade in 2007.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies