Malawi votes against probe into crimes committed in Israel-Palestine conflict

Malawi yesterday voted “no” to the creation of a commission of inquiry by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate crimes committed during the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Malawi was one of the nine members states that voted against the resolution while 24 voted in favour and 14 abstained. In the end, the 47-member council adopted a resolution brought by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations.

An international commission of inquiry  will look into all alleged violations, not just in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, but also in Israel during hostilities that were halted by a ceasefire on May 21. The commission will also investigate all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, earlier told the council that deadly Israeli strikes on Gaza might constitute war crimes and that Hamas had violated international humanitarian law by firing rockets into Israel.

How countries voted

Reuters reported that Israel rejected the resolution adopted by the Geneva forum and said it would not cooperate.

Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu said the decision is yet another example of the UN Human Rights Council’s “blatant anti-Israel obsession.”

A spokesman for Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, called the group’s actions “legitimate resistance” and called for “immediate steps to punish” Israel. read more

Israel’s main ally, the United States, said it deeply regretted the decision in the forum, where it has observer status and no vote.

“The action today instead threatens to imperil the progress that has been made,” said a statement released by the U.S. mission to the U.N. in Geneva.

On the Gaza Strip, the 11-day offensive, which began on May 10, killed at least 254 Palestinians, including 66 children, and wounded more than 1,900 people, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

At least 12 people, including three foreign workers and two children, were killed in Israel by rockets fired by Hamas and other armed groups from Gaza during the same period.

The fighting broke out after weeks of growing tensions over Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem.