U.N. Rights Body Calls for a Halt to Arms Transfers to Israel

The United Nations’ top human rights body adopted a resolution on Friday that calls for all countries to stop supplying arms to Israel and puts its key allies under international scrutiny for possible violations of international humanitarian law.

The resolution adopted by the body, the U.N. Human Rights Council, in Geneva on Friday called on countries to halt supplies of arms and munitions to Israel “in order to prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights.”

The Human Rights Council approved the resolution by a vote of 28 to 6, with 13 states abstaining. The United States and Germany, Israel’s two biggest arms suppliers, voted against the measure.

The resolution has no immediate practical consequences, but its adds significant diplomatic weight to international demands to curb the supply of weapons being used in Gaza. It also lends weight to measures ordered by the International Court of Justice, which has demanded Israel comply with the Genocide Convention and to send more aid to Gaza.

Israel’s ambassador, Meirav Eilon Shahar, condemned the passage of the resolution as a “very dark day in the history of the council.” Noting the resolution had failed to denounce Hamas for attacking Israel on Oct. 7, she said the council had “turned a blind eye” to acts of violence against Israelis.

Later, the Israeli foreign ministry put out a statement noting the council had disregarded the supply of weapons to Hamas by Iran and its allies.

The United States also condemned the resolution, though the U.S. ambassador to the council, Michèle Taylor, echoed President Biden’s mounting impatience with how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has prosecuted the war.

“Israel has not done enough to mitigate civilian harm,” Ms. Taylor said before the vote, calling for an immediate cease-fire and urging Mr. Netanyahu negotiate a deal with Hamas without delay.

The resolution passed Friday also called on the United Nations’ independent commission of inquiry, which is investigating possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Palestinian territories and Israel, to report on the direct and indirect supply of arms to Israel and to analyze the legal consequences of those supplies.

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