U.N. rights body backs critique of Gaza flotilla raid

Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:37pm GMT

By Robert Evans

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations Human Rights Council Wednesday endorsed a fiercely critical report on Israel's raid on a Gaza aid flotilla in May but stopped short of pressing for an international criminal inquiry.

It also renewed the mandate of separate investigation team that has been looking into whether Israelis and Palestinians have been properly investigating alleged rights abuses during the 3-week Gaza conflict in 2008-2009.

But there was no indication in two separate resolutions tabled at the 47-nation council by the Organisation of Islamic States (OIC) that Israel's critics were aiming to have it taken soon before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

That possibility was raised Tuesday by a British judge on the council-appointed team that investigated the flotilla raid on May 31, in which nine pro-Palestinian activists, mainly Turks, were killed by Israeli commandos.

Palestinian rights campaigners in Geneva for the council session told reporters that they wanted Israel taken immediately to the ICC over the Gaza fighting in December 2009 and January 2009, in which more than 1,400 Palestinians died.

But diplomats said both resolutions appeared to take heed of public and private appeals from Western countries and the Palestinian Authority to avoid any action that would create new difficulties for the renewed Middle East peace process.


However, the two texts, passed easily in the council where Islamic states and their allies who include Russia and China, have a majority, did call for new discussion on both issues at its session in March and April next year.   Continued...

<p>An Israeli flag flutters in the wind as a naval vessel (not seen) escorts the Mavi Marmara, a Gaza-bound ship that was raided by Israeli marines, to the Ashdod port May 31, 2010. REUTERS/Amir Cohen</p>
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