Israel has summoned the Filipino Ambassador in Tel Aviv over the Philippines’ vote backing the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) probe into violations committed during the latest conflict in Gaza.
In a statement on Sunday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said Philippines Ambassador Macairog Alberto was summoned for “clarification” regarding the Philippines’ vote at the UNHRC on Thursday, “in favor of the establishment of an investigative committee against Israel over events surrounding Operation Guardian of the Walls.”
In a virtual briefing on Monday, Alberto confirmed the meeting between Israel’s Foreign Ministry and the Philippine Embassy without providing more details about the talks.
When questioned about Israel’s reaction to Manila’s support for the UNHRC probe and how it would affect the relations between the two countries, Alberto said the Philippines is “working to preserve good diplomatic relations with the Middle Eastern nation.”
“We are doing everything we can so that the impact of the voting that happened will not affect Filipinos here in Israel as well as our relations with Israel,” said Alberto.
“Rest assured that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine embassy are doing everything to maintain our good relations with Israel,” he added.
Last week, the UNHRC voted to conduct an independent investigation into violations and abuses of international humanitarian law during the latest wave of violence in Occupied Jerusalem.
The vote came after UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet condemned the “indiscriminate rocket attacks by Gaza’s de facto authority Hamas, which claimed 10 lives in Israel, and strikes inside the enclave by Israeli Security Forces that left 242 dead.”
According to Bachelet, the Israeli airstrikes in densely populated areas had “resulted in a high level of civilian fatalities and injuries as well as the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure.”
Such attacks, she said, may constitute war crimes “if found to be indiscriminate and disproportionate in their impact on civilians and civilian objects”.
On the other hand, she said, the “heavy rocket barrage toward Israel” by Hamas and other armed groups also constituted “a clear violation of international humanitarian law.”
The high commissioner made the statement via a video link to the Geneva-based forum during a special session at the request of Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
A resolution that includes the urgent establishment of an international commission of inquiry to investigate violations during the 11-day conflict between Israel and Palestine was adopted during the session.
Pakistan introduced the draft resolution on behalf of the OIC.
Source: Arab News