EU Calls on Israel to Allow UN Human Rights Rep to enter Gaza
The EU, along with Palestinian and Arab delegations, called Israel on Monday to permit a U.N. human rights investigator to enter Gaza, a move opposed by the U.S.
EU policy officer Jerome Bellion-Jourdan said, “We call on Israel to grant access to the Special Rapporteur without delay.” He added that the EU believed it was critical to make “renewed, structured and substantial efforts toward peace.”
Jourdan made these comments at the U.N. Human Rights Council Agenda Item 7 debate, a discussion about the Palestinian territories.
Israel has so far refused to cooperate with Makarim Wibisono, the U.N. special rapporteur. Wibisono presented a partial report to the Human Rights Council. It called on Israel to examine its military’s actions during the 2014 Gaza war, including the killing of 1,500 Gazan civilians, one third of whom were children.
The report was based on interviews Wibisono conducted with people in Amman and Cairo, and on video calls to Gaza.
Wibisono said, “The ferocity of destruction and high proportion of civilian lives lost in Gaza cast serious doubts over Israel‘s adherence to international humanitarian law principles of proportionality, distinction and precautions in attack.”
The Item 7 session was supposed to be focused on the Wibisono report, but the U.N. Human Rights Council’s chairperson, Mary McGowan, said that the investigators had not been able to finish the report because Israel denied access to the researchers to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
She added, “The commission has done its utmost to obtain access to Israel and the Gaza Strip, as well as the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. We would very much have liked to meet face to face with victims and the authorities in these places.”
The U.S. ambassador to the Council said in a statement that it did not participate in Item 7 claiming it “lacks legitimacy,” and “strongly and unequivocally opposes the very existence” of it. He also claimed that it was “one-sided.”
The Oslo Times