The United Nations Human Rights Council voted Wednesday to establish an inquiry to investigate possible war crimes in the Gaza Strip.
Of the 47 participating countries on the council, 29 voted for opening an investigation, 17 abstained, and one voted against. ABC’s foreign editor Jon Williams has the visual here.
Countries that voted in the affirmative are, in alphabetical order: Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, the Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
Countries that abstained are Austria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, South Korea, Romania, the Republic of Macedonia, and the United Kingdom.
The sole dissenting vote came from the United States, Israel’s most vocal supporter.
The U.N.’s top human-rights official, Navi Pillay, said Wednesday before the vote that there was a “strong possibility” of war crimes committed by both sides in Gaza. In the last two weeks of fighting, during Israel’s latest military offensive in the region, more than 600 Palestinians and dozens of Israeli soldiers have been killed.
Pillay cited both sides in a case for a probe into war crimes, pointing to Israeli airstrikes on civilian homes in the region and to Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups’ attacks on Israeli civilians. She also said that Israel has not done enough to protect civilians in the conflict zone.
The vote took place at a special one-day session of the council, convened at the request of the Palestinians, Egypt, and Pakistan.
Israel faced a similar investigation into its operations in Gaza in 2008, the results of which criticized the nation’s actions during its conflict with Hamas that year, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The investigation is welcomed by Palestinians, who have been calling for the U.N. to address attacks involving civilians along the strip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met with Secretary of State John Kerry in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, called the council’s decision “a travesty” that “should be rejected.”
What We're Following See More »
"The House on Friday overwhelmingly passed sweeping bipartisan opioid legislation, concluding the chamber’s two-week voteathon on dozens of bills to address the drug abuse epidemic. The measure combines more than 50 bills approved individually by the House focusing on expanding access to treatment, encouraging the development of alternative pain treatments and curbing the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S. It was passed 396-14, with 13 Republicans and one Democrat voting against the package."
In a letter to Congress on Friday, President Trump wrote that he's continuing the national emergency status with respect to North Korea, citing the country's “provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions," which "continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat” to the United States. In a series of tweets following his meeting with Kim Jong-un, Trump said Americans could sleep well at night because North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat.
"The U.S. Navy is preparing plans to construct sprawling detention centers for tens of thousands of immigrants on remote bases in California, Alabama and Arizona, escalating the military’s task in implementing President Donald Trump’s 'zero tolerance' policy for people caught crossing the Southern border." The document outlines plans for "temporary and austere" internment camps for 25,000 migrants "at abandoned airfields just outside the Florida panhandle," and in Alabama, for 47,000 people near San Francisco, and "as many as 47,000 people at Camp Pendleton" in California. The document estimates that operating a camp to detain 25,000 people for six months would cost approximately $233 million.
"Lasers have targeted pilots of American military aircraft operating over the western Pacific Ocean more than 20 times in recent months," said U.S. officials. The lasers appeared to be coming from Chinese fishing boats in the South China Sea, said the officials, which is the setting of a "long-running dispute between China and Japan over the control of nearby islands ... The incidents likely will come up as part of a broader discussion of issues when Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visits Beijing next week and meets Chinese President Xi Jinping."
"President Donald Trump has unveiled a new policy that depicts the world’s oceans as a resource ripe for expanded business opportunities, reversing the Obama administration's emphasis on protecting 'vulnerable' marine environments." Rather than emphasizing environmental protection, as Obama's policy did, "Trump’s directive speaks mostly to the oceans as a resource for promoting national security" and creating jobs.