A bipartisan group of 34 U.S. Senators, including Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA, on Friday condemned the decision by the United Nations Human Rights Council to launch an investigation into Israel’s actions during the current conflict.
The lawmakers charge that the investigation is one-sided and ignores actions by Hamas.
In a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Senators wrote: “The fact that there was no call for an investigation into actions by Hamas – including indiscriminate and deliberate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and intentionally putting Palestinians in harm’s way – is clearly irresponsible. The Human Rights Council’s decision was wholly unacceptable as it turned a blind eye to Hamas’ brazen and depraved use of civilians as human shields, the tunnels it has built to cause mayhem in Israel, and its deliberate targeting of civilians… Tragically, such a one-sided approach has inflamed tensions and fueled distrust. This clearly political and biased agenda is not just unproductive – it is destructive.”
The UNHRC last week approved a resolution introduced by Pakistan establishing a Commission of Inquiry into alleged Israeli war crimes.
The U.N. recently confirmed that Hamas rockets had been found in at least two of its schools in the Gaza Strip. Israel claims Hamas has also stored rockets in or near hospitals, mosques and homes.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate on Friday was poised to send to the House of Representatives an emergency spending measure it approved unanimously to provide funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
The Pentagon has asked Congress for $225 million to replenish Israel’s defense system, which over the past three weeks has largely intercepted the majority of rockets fired by Hamas and aimed at that country.
“This clearly political and biased agenda is not just unproductive – it is destructive.” – Letter to UN signed by 34 U.S. Senator
In the letter, the 34 Senators who signed the letter condemning the UNHRC point out that Hamas continues to use media channels to urge residents of Gaza to ignore Israeli instructions to evacuate.
“Over the past two weeks, Hamas has put Palestinians in danger, refused to adhere to multiple cease-fire agreements, and launched more than 2,000 rockets into Israel,” the senators wrote. “What country could sit idly by without responding? Israel has a right to defend itself against these vicious attacks and has worked assiduously to minimize civilian casualties by warning Gaza residents of impending air strikes.”
In addition to Casey, the letter was signed by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Boozman (R-AR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Mike Lee (R-UT), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mark Begich (D-AK), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Christopher Murphy (D-CT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS).