By Moustafa Maged Haboosh and Gulsen Topcu
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) - Palestinian resistance group Hamas sees UN resolution condemning Israel’s human rights violations in occupied Gaza Strip as a "step in the right path".
The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Friday passed a draft resolution to strengthen the UN presence in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory.
“Hamas welcomes the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution that condemns the Israeli occupation for its crimes against the peaceful protesters at the Great Return March east of Gaza,” the group said in a statement.
The resistance group "deems this resolution as a step in the right path towards supporting the Palestinian rights and criminalizing the Israeli occupation at international forums."
Hamas also stated that the UN rights body's move "requires effective and practical steps on the ground to hold the Israeli Occupation accountable for its crimes and violations and to mobilize more support for the Palestinian people and their just cause."
During the Friday’s session, the UNHRC condemned "all violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law" and expressed concern over widespread destruction, death and human suffering in Palestine, including East Jerusalem.
It also decried the use of excessive force by Israel against civilians including children, journalists and health workers.
The council noted that it was "gravely concerned" by the findings of the independent international commission of inquiry, which warned of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity by Israeli forces during the peaceful Great March of Return protests.
It stressed "the urgency of achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and affirming that this is necessary in order to uphold human rights and international law."
Since Palestinians began holding rallies along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone on March 30 last year, more than 250 demonstrators have been killed by Israeli army gunfire.
Demonstrators demand the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
*Writing and contribution by Zehra Nur Duz from Ankara.