UN to hold May 27 session on Palestine upon Pakistan’s request

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Geneva: The UN Human Rights Council said Thursday it would hold a special session on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, amid Israeli massacre in Gaza.

The session was requested by Pakistan, which is the coordinator of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Palestinian authorities, it said.

It will be the 30th extraordinary meeting of the UN’s top rights body since its creation 15 years ago.

The session, planned for next Thursday, will address “the grave human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,” the council said in a statement.

The United Nations did not immediately say how many of the Geneva-based council’s 47 member states had backed the call, but at least a third must come out in support for a special session request to be granted.

Thursday’s announcement came as Israeli air strikes continued to hammer Gaza on Thursday and as diplomats stepped up efforts toward a cease-fire to stem the devastating violence that erupted 10 days ago.

Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed 230 Palestinians, including 65 children, according to the Gaza health ministry, leaving vast areas in rubble and displacing tens of thousands in the crowded territory.

Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel’s ambassador in Geneva, urged member states to oppose next Thursday’s meeting.

“The convening of yet another special session by the Human Rights Council targeting Israel is testament to the clear anti-Israeli agenda of this body,” she said on Twitter.

“The sponsors of this session are only rewarding the actions of Hamas, a terrorist organization, that has indiscriminately launched over 4,000 rockets at Israeli civilians, using the people of Gaza as human shields.

“I call on all member states of the council to strongly oppose this meeting,” said Eilon Shahar.