Reactions of U.S. Congress to HRC resolution on Gaza

House of Representatives

  • Letter (25/07/2014) signed by over 100 members of Congress to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay: “The UNHRC simply cannot be taken seriously as a human rights organisation when it establishes a commission of inquiry to unjustly probe alleged war crimes and violations of international law by the nation defending its citizens from rocket attacks and terror tunnels rather than the terrorist group whose depravity makes a policy of using its citizens as human shields while its terror commanders flee to fortified bunkers.”
  • Rep. Israel (28/07/2014): “That the UN is choosing to wrongly investigate Israel’s actions rather than condemning Hamas’ continual violation of international law is simply despicable. That’s why I join my colleagues in calling on the UN to rethink its course.”
  • Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (28/07/2014): “Hamas’ use of Palestinian men, women and children as human shields and its indiscriminate rocket attacks against innocent Israeli civilians illustrates the crass indifference Hamas shows for human life. Yet the very body at the UN—the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)—that was created to protect and promote human rights around the world couldn’t even muster a word to denounce this egregious and intolerable violation of international humanitarian law. This letter puts the UNHRC on alert that it can no longer continue its anti-Israel agenda, and it must investigate Hamas’ human rights violations.”

  • Rep. Cole (28/07/2014): “In light of Hamas’ obvious crimes against its own people that includes using them as human shields, it is absolutely inappropriate for the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate Israel for violations of international law.”
  • Rep. Engel (30/07/2014): “The UN Human Rights Council, which, frankly, is a joke, even voted to investigate Israel for war crimes, with the United States casting the courageous lone dissenting vote. We know the Human Rights Council typically has a muddled view of Israeli-Palestinian issues. But given the constant barrage of Hamas rockets—launched from civilian population centers, day in and day out, week in and week out, year in and year out, and falling on Israeli civilian population centers—the Council seems especially out of touch.”
  • Rep. Ellison (31/07/2014) – “The resolution improperly condemns the United Nations Human Rights Council for forming a commission to investigate human rights violations. Potential human rights violations by both sides must be investigated.  The U.S. Congress should not be in the business of condemning an investigatory process before it has begun.  It should be working to make sure the process is fair. This resolution also fails to take into account the plight of innocent Palestinians in Gaza and the multitude of civilian deaths. Palestinians in Gaza cannot escape injury and death because Gaza is confined and is one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world—a fact the resolution ignores. I oppose the rockets being fired into Israel and I oppose the system of tunnels Hamas has built to attack Israelis. Indiscriminate rocket fire into Israel is a war crime and is unjustifiable.  I agree that any country facing attack has the right to protect its citizens, but given the population density and the restriction of movement, results show that it is impossible to exert enough care to avoid civilian casualties.”

 

Senate

  • Senator Gilibrand (24/07/2014): “I am greatly disappointed but not surprised that once again the UN Human Rights Council has taken a biased and one-sided approach against Israel. The resolution that came out of the UN Human Rights Council yesterday has little grounding in the reality of a conflict between Israel, a country trying to protect its civilians, and Hamas, a terrorist group that purposefully places civilians on both sides in harm’s way.”
  • Resolution S.Res.526, 113th Congress (29/07/2014): “The United Nations Human Rights Council voted to accept a biased resolution establishing a Commission of Inquiry to determine if Israel violated human rights and humanitarian law during the ongoing conflict with Gaza; and the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution makes no mention of investigating Hamas’s indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel, nor Hamas’s policy of using Palestinian civilians as human shields.”
  • Senator Cardin (29/07/2014): “I am deeply concerned by the recent resolution adopted by the special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council regarding the ongoing conflict between Hamas and the State of Israel.  The resolution makes no mention of the terrorist organization Hamas, its violation of international law in advocating and employing human shields to protect its military equipment and the 2,500 rockets that have been fired at civilians in Israel.”
  • Senator Reid (30/07/2014): “Hamas has fired over 2,500 rockets into Israel during this 3-week conflict. In fact, on the very day the UN Human Rights Council exonerated Hamas, Hamas fired dozens of rockets into Israel. And these aren’t firecrackers. These rockets are very violent, powerful weapons. So today, I join my friend, the Republican Leader, in doing what other nations refused to do—we condemn the UN Human Rights Council’s biased resolution. As a life-long supporter of the United Nations, I say this resolution is disgusting.”
  • Letter (31/07/2014) to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon from a bipartisan group of 35 Senators, including U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker: “The fact that there was no call for an investigation into actions by Hamas—including indiscriminate and deliberate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and intentionally putting Palestinians in harm’s way—is clearly irresponsible. The Human Rights Council’s decision was wholly unacceptable as it turned a blind eye to Hamas’ brazen and depraved use of civilians as human shields, the tunnels it has built to cause mayhem in Israel, and its deliberate targeting of civilians… Tragically, such a one-sided approach has inflamed tensions and fueled distrust. This clearly political and biased agenda is not just unproductive—it is destructive”.
  • Senator Rubio (31/07/2014): “The United Nations has turned a blind eye to Hamas’ use of its facilities to terrorize Israel. But the targeting of innocent Israelis by Hamas and other terrorist groups cannot be denied, and it cannot be ignored – not by the United Nations, and certainly not by America” (ahead of introducing a proposal for The Palestinian and United Nations Anti-Terrorism Act of 2014 which would: “Restrict U.S. assistance to the United Nations Human Rights Council until they cease collaborating with Hamas, a designated terrorist organization, and promoting an anti-Israel agenda.”).
  • Senator Schumer (15/08/2014): “[A]llowing Mr. Schabas to head the UN Gaza Commission is like allowing a biased prosecutor to be the judge. [T]hat’s why I’m urging the United States to both stop all funding and pull out of the UN’s Human Rights Council if Mr. Schabas is not removed. Any investigative findings from Schabas on Israel will be completely subjective and a sham.”

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