UN report: Possible war crimes by Israel, Palestinian groups in Gaza

World Today

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-DEMO Israeli security forces walk past tires burnt by Palestinian protesters during clashes following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, on June 19, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JAAFAR ASHTIYEH

United Nations investigators on the 2014 Gaza conflict released a report on Monday saying that Israel and Palestinian groups may have violated the laws of war and called the international community to accelerate and intensify changes in policies regarding the use of explosive weapons.

The independent U.N. commission of inquiry, chaired by Mary McGowan Davis, a former judge of the Supreme Court of New York, published the results of an investigation into war crimes alleged to have been committed by both the Israeli armed forces and Palestinian militants during the 2014 Gaza conflict.

“You will see that we do not talk in the report about evidence, what we have collected instead in a scrupulously objective fashion, are witness accounts, submissions and other material that could point the way to a more thorough investigation into what happened in the summer of 2014 in Gaza, the West Bank including East Jerusalem and in Israel, in order to determine whether conduct by either side violated the laws of war,” Davis told a news conference in Geneva.

The commission of inquiry was launched a year ago at the request of the Palestinians.

A ceasefire last August ended 50 days of fighting between Gaza militants and Israel in which health officials said more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed.

Israel put the number of its dead at 67 soldiers and six civilians.

Israeli air strikes and shelling hammered the densely-populated enclave dominated by the Islamist Hamas movement, causing widespread destruction of homes and schools.

Gaza militants fired thousands of rockets and mortar bombs into Israel.

The head of the U.N. commission said that she hoped that the inquiry would contribute to make governments stand up and ask for changes in policies regarding the use of explosive weapons.

“The most that we can hope for, out of this long and arduous process of inquiry, is that we will push the bowl of justice a little further down the field, particularly by calling on governments to stand up and join together to address the crying need for changes in policies regarding the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated urban areas like Gaza and further to hold accountable those who do not pay scrupulous attention to protecting the lives of civilians and civilian objects, waging hostilities like those than consumed Gaza in Israel last summer,” said Davis.

She listed a series of events that the inquiry commission had found especially troubling in the 2014 conflict.

“First in 2014 the attacks on homes and families which led to large numbers of family members dying together when their homes were struck in the middle of the night or as they were gathering for the Iftar meal. These attacks had put secular consequences for children. Approximately 551 children died last summer,” she said.

The commission also condemned in its report what it found were executions of alleged Palestinian “collaborators” with Israel by militants in Gaza, saying these killings appeared to constitute war crimes.

Both sides have denied violating the laws of war in the conflict.

Reuters


Wardah Khalid of FCNL discusses UN Gaza report

Israel and Hamas both expressed strong objections to the U.N.’s findings. CCTV America’s Elaine Reyes interviewed Wardah Khalid, a peace fellow on Middle East policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation to learn more about what people are saying about the findings.

Wardah Khalid of FCNL discusses UN Gaza report

Wardah Khalid of FCNL discusses UN Gaza report

Israel and Hamas both expressed strong objections to the U.N.'s findings. CCTV's Elaine Reyes interviewed Wardah Khalid, a peace fellow on Middle East policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation to learn more about what people are saying about the findings.


Israel, Hamas reject war crimes charges

The United Nations released a scathing report on the conduct of Israel and Palestinian armed groups during the Gaza war of 2014.Investigators said they found substantial information pointing to possible war crimes committed by both sides, prompting strong objections from Israel and Hamas. CCTV’s UN Correspondent Liling Tan filed this report from New York.
Follow Liling Tan on Twitter @LilingTan

Israel, Hamas reject war crimes charges

Israel, Hamas reject war crimes charges

The United Nations released a scathing report on the conduct of Israel and Palestinian armed groups during the Gaza war of 2014.Investigators said they found substantial information pointing to possible war crimes committed by both sides, prompting strong objections from Israel and Hamas. CCTV's UN Correspondent filed this report from New York.

Highlights:

  • The 217-page report looked into whether war crimes had been committed in the 2014 Gaza conflict and the findings are that, based on victim accounts and witness testimonials from both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, they very likely were.
  • The report criticized Israel’s use of indiscriminate weapons with a wide kill-and-injure radius, and of not doing enough to prevent civilian casualties. It also called out Palestinian armed groups’ firing of rockets and mortars, and the use of tunnels to wage attacks.
  • The UN says the findings serve more as indicators of possible war crimes than actual evidence, given that both sides did not collaborate with investigators.