The United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday launched a commission of inquiry into alleged Israeli war crimes in its current Gaza offensive, backing Palestinian efforts to have Israel held up to international scrutiny.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office fiercely condemned the UN council's decision as a "travesty and should be rejected by decent people everywhere."

Meeting in Geneva, the 46-member council backed a Palestinian-drafted resolution by 29 votes, with supports from Arab and Muslim countries, China, Russia, Latin American and African nations.

The United States was the only member to vote against the resolution, while European countries abstained.
Navi Pillay - AP - 4.2.2011

The last such investigation faced by Israel was the so-called Goldstone Committee, which harshly criticized Israel's conduct during its 2008 hostilies with Hamas in Gaza.


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