UN rights council votes for probe into ‘crimes’ committed in Gaza conflict

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The United Nations Human Rights Council agreed on Thursday to launch an international investigation into crimes committed during the 11-day conflict between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.

By a vote of 24 states in favour, 9 against, with 14 abstentions, the 47-member forum adopted a resolution brought by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations.

“The draft resolution … is therefore adopted,” Nazhat Shameem Khan, Fiji’s ambassador who serves as current president of the Geneva forum, said after an all-day special session.

Israel rejected and Hamas welcomed a decision on Thursday by the U.N. Human Rights Council to launch an international investigation into crimes that may have been committed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the country would not cooperate with the probe, deeming it a bid to “whitewash crimes committed by the terror organization Hamas”.

A spokesman for the Palestinian militant group called its actions “legitimate resistance” and urged “immediate steps to punish” Israel.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Edmund Blair)