A UNRWA-operated school in northern Gaza, Abu Haseen, following Israeli airstrikes on July 30, 2014. (Photo: AFP/File)
A UNRWA-operated school in northern Gaza, Abu Haseen, following Israeli airstrikes on July 30, 2014. (Photo: AFP/File)

Bethlehem, 18 Ramadan 1436/5 July 2015 (MINA) – Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs celebrated the “strong support” shown for a UN resolution passed by the international community to hold accountable those who violated international law during last summer’s bloody war between Israel and Hamas.

“There is no path to justice and peace without accountability,” Foreign Minister Riad Malki stated after the UN Human Rights Council vote, which adopted an extensive UN report on last summer’s war in the Gaza Strip.

The UN Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict announced last month that it had gathered “credible allegations” that both Israeli and Palestinian sides had committed war crimes during the conflict, Ma’an News Agency reports as quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).

“We will not accept that the repeated crimes against our people go unpunished,” Malki said.

Forty-five countries, including France, Germany and Britain supported the resolution.

India, Kenya, Ethiopia, Paraguay and Macedonia abstained, and the United States was the only country to vote against the resolution.

Last summer’s war left over 2,200 Palestinians dead, including over 550 children, 80 of whom were 3 years old or less, Maliki added, noting that entire families were annihilated during Israeli assaults.

“For them, for the family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir and so many other Palestinian families, for our people still under occupation and blockade, and deprived of their inalienable rights, and to prevent the recurrence of such crimes, we have a duty to end impunity,” added the Palestinian minister, referring to the Palestinian teen burned alive by Israeli settlers one year ago.

In his statement Malki argued: “The refusal by Israel, the occupying power, to grant such access is an implicit recognition of the commission of crimes of concern to the international community as a whole and we call on states and UN bodies to take the required steps in this regard.”

In spite of Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the UN inquiry earlier this year, Hamas welcomed the UN report at the time of its release, claiming it was a “clear condemnation of the occupation” that “requires that its leaders be brought to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and other international courts to try them for their crimes against our people.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the US for its vote against the resolution Friday, and reportedly asked the Indian premier, the Kenyan president and the prime minister of Ethiopia to abstain prior to the vote, according to reports by Israeli media.

Israel’s representative Eviatar Manor meanwhile lambasted the decision, accusing the council of being an “agent provocateur.”

Human Rights Watch welcomed the resolution saying it “sends a strong message that the perpetrators of serious violations should be held to account. Israel and Palestine, as well as Hamas, should respect the resolution’s call to cooperate with the International Criminal Court.”

The ICC, set up in 2002, is the world’s only permanent independent body to try the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.

Although the council does not have the power to order that suspects be brought before the ICC, it urged both Israel and Palestinian authorities to “cooperate fully” with any criminal inquiries that may be opened.

Palestine joined the ICC in April and has been seeking to open criminal proceedings against Israel as part of an increased focus on international diplomacy, with much of their focus on last summer’s devastating war.  (T/P010/R03)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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