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UNHR council launches Gaza probe
23 Jul 2014 22:10
The UN Human Rights Council has launched a commission of inquiry into Israel's Gaza offensive, backing efforts by the Palestinians to hold the Jewish state up to international scrutiny.
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The 47-member council backed a Palestinian-drafted resolution by 29 votes, with Arab and fellow Muslim countries joined by China, Russia and Latin American and African nations.
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The United States was the sole member to vote against, while Ireland and other European countries abstained.
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Ireland was elected to the Human Rights Council for a three-year term last year.
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UN Human Rights Council adopts resolution on #Palestine & #Gaza. 29 States voted for, 1 against, 17 abst. #HRC pic.twitter.com/gOWTGAxEHA</p>— UN Geneva (@UNGeneva) July 23, 2014 <p>The Department of Foreign Affairs has emailed a statement of the explanation of vote delivered on behalf of the EU.
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In the statement, the EU said the draft resolution failed to condemn explicitly the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israeli civilian areas as well as to recognize Israel´s legitimate right to defend itself.
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The EU said it worked intensively throughout the day with the authors of the resolution to find the text which we could support.
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Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has said he was ready to accept a humanitarian truce in Gaza, but would not agree to a full ceasefire until the terms had been negotiated. "Everyone wanted us to accept a ceasefire and then negotiate for our rights, we reject this and we reject it again today," he said at a news conference in Qatar.
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Lifting the eight-year blockade of Gaza is a main demand of Hamas, which also wants the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt and Israel to free prisoners.
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However, he said Hamas "will not close the door" to a humanitarian truce if Israel ended its siege of Gaza.
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Mr Meshaal insisted that Hamas "welcomes all efforts to end the aggression" and "does not object" to mediation by any party, including Egypt.
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"We will not accept any initiative that does not lift the blockade on our people and that does not respect their sacrifices.
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"Let us agree on achieving our demands and we will then agree on the zero-hour for a ceasefire," Mr eshaal said.
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An Israeli air strike on northern Gaza has killed five people, bringing the total number of dead to 678, medics said, as Israel's army announced two more soldiers had died in fighting.
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