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Barghouti: UN report offers “proof of Israeli war crimes”

By Editor - June 23, 2015
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Benjamin Netanyahu] [Mustafa Bargouthi] [UN]

What is left of the village of Khuzaa after the summer 2014 war in Gaza. Photo by Lazar Simeonov.


An independent UN Commission mandated to investigate the possible breach of international humanitarian law during the last year’s Gaza War published its findings yesterday, June 22. The report suggests that actions that may be war crimes were executed by both sides of the conflict and called upon Israel and the Palestinian factions to collaborate with the International Criminal Court.

“The report in hand was commissioned by a notoriously biased institution; it was given an obviously biased mandate; it was initially headed by a grossly biased chairperson who received money from the Palestinians and was forced to resign,” said Netanyahu in an immediate attempt to discredit the UN document.

The report questions the proportionality of the Israeli attacks that targeted densely populated areas of the Gaza Strip. The type of weapons used and the timing of the attacks “indicate that the IDF may not have done everything feasible to avoid or limit civilian casualties” - conduct that could amount to a war crime.

Hamas, on the other hand, has welcomed the report labelling it as “a clear condemnation of the occupation” that will bring “its leaders to the International Criminal Court and try them for their crimes against our people,” Ma’an News Agency reported.

Nonetheless, the Commission chaired by Mary McGowan Davis voiced equal concerns about the appropriateness and legitimacy of the acts carried out by the various Palestinian factions operating in the Gaza Strip, Hamas included. In this respect, it directly condemned the “extrajudicial executions of alleged collaborators” and “the use of inherently indiscriminate projectiles towards Israel” that caused “immense distress and disruption” to Israelis’ lives.

With regards to Israeli accusations that Hamas used Gaza’s civilian population as human shields, the UNHRC expressed regrets that due to repetitive Israeli bans on access to Gaza, it was unable to verify these allegations.

Yet, it has acknowledged that, “In cases where the goal may have been to use the presence of civilians to protect military assets from attack,” this would amount to a violation of the international law that prohibits the use of human shields in armed conflicts.

PLO Executive Committee member Saeb Erekat said that the PA will review the findings "with the highest consideration, in line with its staunch commitment to ensuring respect for these esteemed bodies of international law," reported Ma’an News Agency.

To the contrary, the Israeli Foreign Ministry criticised the impartiality of the UN and said that, “The United Nations Human Rights Council has a singular obsession with Israel. It has passed more resolutions against Israel than against Syria, North Korea and Iran combined.”

All other reports published by senior generals from the U.S. and NATO have confirmed that “Israel upholds the highest standards of international law,” and in the laws of armed conflict, it even “exceeds the highest standards,” the statement continued.

Mary McGowan Davis, chair of the UN-appointed Commission said that, “The extent to the devastation and human suffering in Gaza is unprecedented and will impact generations to come.” 1,462 Palestinian civilians were killed and tens of thousands wounded. On Israeli side, 6 civilians died from Hamas’ launched rocket attacks and 1,600 were injured.

During the 50-day war, Israel carried out over 6,000 airstrikes hitting both civilian and military targets across Gaza. Palestinian armed factions fired 4,881 rockets and 1,753 mortars, a majority of which landed in uninhabited areas in southern Israel, reads the report.

Secretary General of The Palestinian National Initiative, Al-Mubadara, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti told the Palestine Monitor, “Although the report does not cover the full scale of Israeli violations, it does provide definite proof that the Israeli army and government committed war crimes that should be immediately investigated by the International Criminal Court.”




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