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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
UN rights body condemns Israel
Israeli soldier in Jenin refugee camp
Israeli troops sealed off Jenin during the assault
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The BBC's Emma Jane Kirby
reporting from Geneva

The United Nations Human Rights Commission has condemned Israel for "gross violations of humanitarian law".

At its annual session in Geneva, the commission approved with a majority vote a resolution which accused Israel of mass killings of Palestinians and demanded that it end its military offensive in the occupied territories.

[The document] could never help to make peace

Israeli ambassador

The resolution, sponsored mainly by Arab and Muslim states, was passed by 40 votes to five, with seven nations abstaining.

Most of the countries of the European Union voted in favour, but Britain and Germany voted against.

The United States, Israel's traditional ally in the 53-member commission, was not able to vote, having lost its seat on the body last year.

The motion accused Israel for "gross violations" of humanitarian law and affirmed the "legitimate right of Palestinian people to resist".
Pro-Israeli demonstration in Berlin
Britain and Germany voted against the document

Before the vote was taken, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations urged the commission members not to support what he called a "highly politicised and one-sided document... which could never help to make peace in the Middle East".

The Palestinian ambassador said the resolution was just in condemning a nation which was "destroying the entire society of Palestinian people."

See also:

15 Apr 02 | Middle East
Powell widens Mid-East peace mission
15 Apr 02 | Middle East
Israel set to remove Jenin bodies
13 Apr 02 | Middle East
Palestinian 'shot dead' in Bethlehem
13 Apr 02 | Middle East
Arafat's statement on terrorism
14 Apr 02 | Middle East
Palestinians reject Bethlehem deal
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