UN rights boss condemns disproportionate use of force

June 01, 2010, Tuesday/ 21:13:00

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, condemned Israel's apparent “highly excessive” use of force and backed a swift, credible and independent investigation.

Pillay, a former UN war crimes judge, called for Israel to lift its blockade on Gaza, saying it deprived its 1.5 million civilians of their basic rights to food, water and shelter. The Palestinians' ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Ibrahim Khraishi, denounced Israel's raid, underlining that it would not help the Middle East peace process.

"We should strongly condemn this criminal act which has once again demonstrated what we have been saying all along, namely that Israel believes it is above the law," he said.

Turkish Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü called the attack, in which four Turkish nationals were killed, "unjustified and a grave breach of international law".

Israel, in the dock at the top United Nations human rights body over its bloody raid on a humanitarian aid flotilla, accused the activists of being a “lynch mob” with ties to Hamas.