Photo Credit: Jérôme Blum / Wikimedia
Room of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

The United Nations General Assembly has approved an open-ended probe by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate alleged Israeli human rights violations during the 11-day mini-war with Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror organization this past May.

The vote, taken last Thursday night in the UN General Assembly Fifth Committee, was aimed at securing funding for the probe.

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“Establishing a novel, permanent standing committee rather than a limited, temporary and well-defined Commission of Inquiry is unprecedented and dangerous in terms of the long-term budgetary implications for the UN organization as a while,” Israeli envoy Sherry Zilbergeld told the General Assembly.

“Countries who opposed the formation of the COI will be asked to fund a commission [probe] indefinitely. This means that you will have to pay for this mechanism next year, you will have to pay for this mechanism in 10 years and you will have to pay for it in 100 years,”Zilbergeld pointed out.

“Since its establishment in 2006, the UNHRC has set up 32 investigative bodies, with nine – nearly a third – of these focused exclusively on Israel.”

No Commission of Inquiry was created to probe the actions of Hamas, which has launched more than 10,000 rockets at Israeli civilians, and which is an internationally designated terrorist group.

Zilbergeld proposed an alternate motion to separate the long-term UNHRC budget allocation from that of the Commission of Inquiry intended to investigate Israel – but it was rejected in a vote of 125 to 8, with 34 abstentions.

The nations who supported Israel included Hungary, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea and the United States. Those who abstained included: Albania, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, Central African Republic, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Fiji, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Italy, Lithuania, Madagascar, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Zambia.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan slammed the decision, saying the UNGA had “descended to a new low” in approving the budget for the probe.

The initial proposal for a Commission of Inquiry (COI) was first approved right after the war – which was launched by Hamas with a barrage of rocket fire aimed at the Israeli capital during public celebrations marking unification of the city that were taking place in central Jerusalem.

The initial mandate approved by the UNHRC passed in a 24-9 vote with 14 abstentions and called for a probe into alleged Israeli war crimes on either side of the 1947 Armistice Line, also known as the Green Line.

There has never before been such an open-ended investigation aimed at any member state in the United Nations.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.