WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has some harsh words directed toward the United Nations.
Speaking to CNN on Sunday, the Republican senator claimed that the U.N. is becoming more anti-Semitic following the organization’s human rights body warning that Israel, along with Hamas, might be committing war crimes in Gaza in attacks on civilians.
“I would condemn the U.N. human rights report that holds Israel responsible for the activity here,” Graham told CNN. “The U.N. human rights report is a joke. The U.N. is becoming more anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic.”
Graham added: “I would push back. Congress will do this.”
Last week the U.N. human rights body voted 29-1 to authorize an international commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged abuses since mid-June in the Gaza Strip.
Israel said that the council’s decision to investigate Israel’s role in the conflict sent a message to extremist groups around the world that using human shields – which it accuses Hamas of doing – was an “effective strategy.”
“The Human Rights Council must start to investigate Hamas’ decision to turn hospitals into command bases and schools into weapons warehouses and to place rocket batteries near playgrounds, private homes and mosques,” said a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay cited an Israeli drone missile strike in Gaza City that killed three children and wounded two others while they were playing on the roof of their home. She also made reference to an Israeli strike and naval shelling that struck seven children playing on Gaza beach, killing four from the same family.
“These are just a few examples where there seems to be a strong possibility that international humanitarian law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes,” Pillay told the rights council’s special session.
Israel launched its operation in Gaza on July 8 in response to heavy rocket fire out of Hamas-controlled Gaza. The fighting escalated last week with an Israeli ground offensive.
Pillay also warned that Hamas and others were violating international law.
“Israeli children, and their parents and other civilians, also have a right to live without the constant fear that a rocket fired from Gaza may land on their houses or their schools, killing or injuring them,” Pillay said.
“The principles of distinction and precaution are clearly not being observed during such indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas by Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups,” she added.
Pillay said not abiding by those principles could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
More than 1,000 Palestinians and 43 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the conflict so far. Two Israeli citizens were also killed from Hamas rockets.
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