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.”
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