Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denounced on Sunday a U.N. call for Israel and Hamas to prosecute alleged war crimes as an “anti-Israeli manifesto.”
The United States was the only country on the 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council to vote against the resolution, which passed 41 to 1, with five abstentions.
Explaining his country’s ‘no’ vote, U.S. ambassador Keith Harper said: “We are troubled that this resolution focuses exclusively on alleged Israeli violations without any express reference to Palestinian violations.”
While the Council has no binding powers, the resolution will add to the international campaign to isolate and delegitimize Israel.
Netanyahu criticized the council, suggesting it was singling out his country when it should be focusing on the actions of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or the terrorists of Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
“On the day on which Israel was fired at from Sinai, and at a time when ISIS is committing vicious terrorist attacks in Egypt, as Assad slaughters his people in Syria and as the number of arbitrary executions per annum climbs in Iran, the U.N. Human Rights Council decides to condemn the state of Israel for no fault of its own, for acting to defend itself from a murderous terrorist organization.”
Speaking more generally, about the council’s longstanding bias against Israel, Netanyahu said that “the U.N. Human Rights Council is not interested in the facts and is not really interested in human rights.”
After hours of behind-the-scenes negotiations, all European Union member states of the Council, including Britain, France and Germany, voted in favor of the resolution. EU diplomats expressed disappointment, however, that the resolution contained no specific reference to the rockets fired by Hamas toward civilian areas in Israel, which started the conflict.
Palestinian Ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi said the government had set up an independent committee on Thursday to probe allegations, and it would respect its legal obligations.
In Geneva, Israeli Ambassador Eviatar Manor said: “Israel is fully committed to investigating all alleged violations of laws of armed conflict.”
The five countries abstaining were Ethiopia, India, Paraguay, the Republic of Macedonia, and Kenya.