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Israel furious as UN Human Rights Council unveils Gaza probe team

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Israel lashed out on Tuesday after the UN Human Rights Council named the man who will be running an inquiry into its Gaza offensive.

Canadian international lawyer William Schabas, who will head the commission, is widely regarded in Israel as being hostile to the Jewish state over reported calls to bring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the International Criminal Court.

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“This commission’s anti-Israeli conclusions have already been written, all it needs is a signature,” railed foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.

“For this commission the important thing is not human rights but the rights of terrorist organisations like Hamas,” he told AFP.

But in a series of interviews with the Israeli media, Schabas defended himself against allegations of bias against the Jewish state.

“I’ve frequently lectured in Israel, at universities in Israel, I’m a member of the editorial board of the Israel law review, I wouldn’t do those things if I was anti-Israel,” he told public radio.

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He challenged Palmor’s assertion that the commission’s findings were a foregone conclusion.

“As far as I’m concerned they’re not written at all, that’s the whole point of an investigation,” he told the radio.

“Many of the questions we have to examine will deal with very precise matters on which the generalities about the conflict don’t provide any insight.

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“When we look at specific incidents in which… civilians were killed during the conflict, there are issues about targeting, about proportionality, each one of these has to be examined specifically.”

In a second interview with Israel’s army radio, he said that he would also be looking into the actions of Palestinian militants.

“The mandate that the commission has been given doesn’t specify this and I think a reasonable interpretation would be that mandate requires you to look at both sides,” he said.

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He said the commission’s findings are to be published in March 2015.

Israel has long had stormy relations with the UNHRC.

In January 2012, it became the first country to refuse to attend a periodic review of its human rights record.

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And two months later, it cut all ties with the Geneva-based council after it announced an inquiry into how West Bank settlements may be infringing on Palestinians rights.

Israel has accused the UNHRC of routinely singling it out at its annual meetings, as well as passing a number of anti-Israel resolutions.


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Millions around the world joined #ClimateStrike — demanding bold climate action

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Masses of children skipped school Friday to join a global strike against climate change that teen activist Greta Thunberg said was "only the beginning" in the fight against environmental disaster.

Some four million people filled city streets around the world, organizers said, in what was billed as the biggest ever protest against the threat posed to the planet by rising temperatures.

Youngsters and adults alike chanted slogans and waved placards in demonstrations that started in Asia and the Pacific, spread across Africa, Europe and Latin America, before culminating in the United States where Thunberg rallied.

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Trump announces new sanctions on Iran — and deploys US troops to the Middle East

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The United States announced Friday that it was sending military reinforcements to the Gulf region following attacks on Saudi oil facilities that it attributes to Iran, just hours after President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions on Tehran.

Trump said the sanctions were the toughest-ever against another country, but indicated he did not plan a military strike, calling restraint a sign of strength.

The Treasury Department renewed action against Iran's central bank after US officials said Tehran carried out weekend attacks on rival Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which triggered a spike in global crude prices.

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‘Do a lot of stupid sh*t as quickly as possible’: Ambassador Power breaks down ’The Trump Doctrine’

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The former ambassador to the United Nations explained "The Trump Doctrine" during a Friday evening interview with comedian Bill Maher on HBO's "Real Time."

Samantha Power, the author of the new book, The Education of an Idealist, was asked by Maher about the foreign policy mantra of the Obama administration.

"Obama's foreign policy doctrine was famously summarized as 'don't do stupid sh*t," Maher noted. "Trump's, of course, is 'Do stupid sh*t.'"

"Do stupid sh*t as quickly as possible," Power clarified.

Watch:

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