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PALESTINE solidarity campaigners condemned the British government’s decision today to abstain on votes to hold Israel responsible for unlawful use of force against protesters in Gaza.
Britain joined 15 other nations in deciding not to vote on an accountability resolution moving to adopt a UN report condemning Israel’s “intentional use of unlawful lethal and other excessive force” against civilian protesters in 2018.
The resolution did pass at the ongoing UN Human Rights Council in Geneva despite this, with 23 countries voting in favour and only eight voting against.
The abstentions appear to contradict existing government policy which condemns settlements as illegal under international law and calls on Israel to cease all settlement expansion.
Further resolutions relating to human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israeli settlements in occupied territories were all voted against by the British government.
All four resolutions also passed, with the resolution relating to the right to self-determination receiving 41 votes in favour and only three against.
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) director Ben Jamal said the decision represents “a gross neglect” of the British government’s responsibility to promote human rights and respect for international law.
He said: “The British government has endorsed calls for accountability of human rights violations in a number of other countries but refuses to do so with Israel. This double standard is sickening.
“Over 5,000 emails have been sent to MPs and the Foreign Office by PSC members calling on them to support the recommendations of the UN independent commission of inquiry report into Israeli war crimes against Palestinian civilians.”
Mr Jamal said they will continue to keep up the pressure on the government to promote global peace and justice, including by building the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
A rally outside the Israeli embassy in London on March 30 and a national demonstration outside the BBC studios on May 11 will take place in support of Palestinian rights.
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