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UN council calls for Gaza flotilla probe

The United Nations Human Rights Council has agreed to send an “independent international fact-finding” mission to investigate the Gaza aid flotilla attack.

This content was published on June 3, 2010 - 09:18

The Geneva-based body passed a resolution, proposed by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Arab League, condemning Israel’s early morning raid on Monday on aid ships bound for the Gaza Strip.

Nine activists were killed and dozens were injured in the attack, prompting an international outcry and increasing pressure on Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza.

In all, 32 of the 47 member states supported the motion, three were against (United States, the Netherlands and Italy) and there were nine abstentions.

Switzerland, which will become a new member of the UN council at the end of June, did not vote. On Monday it too called for an international inquiry into the circumstances of the attack.

The Israeli ambassador the UN in Geneva defended his country’s position during the special council session.

“I would first like to remind the council that the Gaza Strip is controlled de facto by the Hamas terrorist group,” said Aharon Leshno Yaar in his speech. “This flotilla of so-called humanitarian assistance was political and provocative in nature.

“The threat to Israel’s peace and security is constant and real,” he added.

About 300 people in Lausanne protested against the raid on Wednesday, denouncing it as "a despicable act of barbarism" from a "so-called developed country".

Amid widespread anger at the Israeli action, the UN Security Council on Monday called for a "prompt, impartial, credible and transparent" investigation of the deaths, and the Turkish prime minister demanded the immediate lifting of Israel's "inhumane" blockade of the Gaza Strip.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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