Rights Group: Israeli Lethal Force Against Protesters May Be War Crime


Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave have been staging week-long protests demanding their right to return to the homes and lands their families were expelled from 70 years ago.

The United Nations General Assembly voted Wednesday on an Arab-backed resolution to condemn Israel for force against Palestinian civilians, including "excessive, indiscriminate force by the Israeli forces".

USA ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley argued that the original resolution was biased against Israel, and put blame for violence squarely on Israel.

More than 120 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza border protests since March 30. The overwhelming majority of the dead and wounded have been unarmed, according to Gaza health officials. Israel says Hamas uses the protests as cover for attacks on the border fence.

However, Kushner and Greenblatt are not scheduled to meet with Palestinian officials in Ramallah, just north of Jerusalem, "because the Palestinian leadership made it clear they don't want to meet the peace team", the spokesperson said.

The resolution condemned the "firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilian areas", which have increased following clashes, and requested the United Nations secretary general submit a written response regarding the safety of the Palestinian civilian population.

In the General Assembly, the confrontation over Gaza, reflecting decades-old divisions between Israel and the Palestinians, played out with a few new twists.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley described the resolution as "grossly one-sided" as she pinned the blame on much of Palestinians' suffering on the Hamas movement, which runs the strip. It also seeks recommendations to protect Palestinian civilians.

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His motion to take "no action" on the amendment was defeated by a vote of 59-78 with 26 abstentions, allowing the US amendment to be put to a vote.

Canada's ambassador Marc-André Blanchard spoke - in addition to Haley - in favor of the USA amendment before the vote.

In December 128 countries defied President Donald Trump and voted in favor of a U.N. General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Before the vote, the U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley said there were "no ideal actors" on either side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The amendment will then be put to a vote followed by the resolution, he said. The U.S. narrowly lost that vote 66-73 with 26 abstentions.

The resolution put forward by Algeria and Turkey on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries won 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with 8 votes against and 45 abstentions.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyWhat you need to know about Tuesday's elections South Carolina Gov. McMaster heads to runoff What to watch in Tuesday's primary elections MORE voted against the motion, and sharply denounced the vote as "morally bankrupt" in a statement.

"We had more countries on the right side than the wrong side", Haley said.