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 »
"President Trump is expected to announce that Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci will be White House communications director, according to two sources familiar with the planning. Trump has left the role open since Mike Dubke resigned in May, and the President has vented frequently to his friends about the performance of his press operation." According to NBC News, Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus are resisting the move.
"President Donald Trump's second-quarter job approval rating has fallen below what any other past president has gotten during the same time frame. A new Gallup poll found that Trump averaged a 38.8% rating between April 20 and July 19. The average approval rating for that time is 62%. President Obama was at the average during this time period, as was President Nixon. President Clinton is the only president who was below 50% by the second quarter, coming in with a 44% approval rating." There is also a large partisan gap. "Just 8% of Democrats approved of Trump's job performance during the second quarter, but 85% of Republicans did. Approval ratings have become increasingly polarized in recent administrations, but the 77-point gap for Trump is a new record."
"The US government will soon prohibit American citizens from traveling to North Korea, according to two tour groups that cater to Western tourists who want to visit the secretive country. The US will announce the ban within a couple of days, said Simon Cockerell, general manager of Beijing-based Koryo Tours. The agency was informed of the development by officials of the Swedish government, which represents America's interests in North Korea, he told CNN."
"Federal arts and humanities programs targeted for elimination by the Trump administration would get a lifeline from House appropriators willing to ignore the president’s proposal and keep them running. The $31.5 billion fiscal 2018 Interior-Environment spending bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday includes $145 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. While that’s still a 3.2 percent cut from the fiscal year 2017 enacted level, it is more than $116 million above Trump’s budget request. The National Endowment for the Humanities would receive $145 million in fiscal 2018, which is $103.7 million above the White House budget request."