Israel backers rally outside U.N. Human Rights Council

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — About 1,000 Israel supporters demonstrated outside the U.N. Human Rights Council in Switzerland as a commission of inquiry presented a report on last summer’s Israel-Gaza conflict.

The participants in the Geneva rally on Monday represented more than 80 nongovernmental organizations and came from a dozen countries.

At the protest, Adele Raemer, a resident of Kibbutz Nirim, near the border with Gaza, described how the kibbutz residents were nearly murdered during the conflict when terrorists emerged from a tunnel from Gaza.

“I am disappointed by the tone at times of the Human Rights Council which insinuates that Israel does not demand accountability from her army,” Raemer said. “I know that in the process of protecting my community, our soldiers have put their lives at risk to save innocent Palestinian lives, aborting vital missions when non-combatant Palestinians were in harm’s way.”

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Also Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told a closed meeting that he would consider leaving the Human Rights Council over the United Nations body’s report issued last week that said both Israel and Palestinian armed groups may have committed war crimes during last summer’s 50-day conflict. Army Radio reported on the closed meeting on Monday evening.

Israel and the United States boycotted the Human Rights Council session that discussed the report, which focused more on Israel’s role in the conflict and accepted Palestinian casualty figures. Israel did not cooperate in the investigation, saying the panel commission biased against Israel.

The council will vote later this week on whether to adopt the report’s findings.

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