UN launches investigation into whether Israel, Hamas committed crimes
The UN Human Rights Council has said that it will investigate alleged crimes committed in Gaza during the fighting between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas. On Thursday, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to initiate an international inquiry into alleged crimes committed in Gaza during Israel's 11-day confrontation with the Islamist organisation Hamas. The independent probe will have a broad scope to look into any alleged violations, not just in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, but also in Israel during the truce that ended on May 21. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, had already advised the Security Council that Israeli operations on Gaza might amount to war crimes, and that Hamas had violated international humanitarian law by launching rockets into Israel. Israel has stated that it will not cooperate with the Geneva forum's resolution. "Today's reprehensible judgement is just another example of the UN Human Rights Council's flagrant anti-Israel obsession," Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a statement, accusing the body of whitewashing "a genocidal terrorist organisation." According to Israel's foreign ministry, Israeli soldiers operated "in compliance with international law in defending our civilians against Hamas' indiscriminate rocket fire." Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, termed the organization's acts "legitimate resistance" and demanded "urgent steps to punish" Israel, according to a spokesman for the group. The United States, Israel's major ally, expressed grave disappointment at the decision in the forum, where it has observer status but no vote.