UN Report: Both Sides in Gaza May Be War Criminals

Israel, Palestinians both on the hook for 'serious violations' of humanitarian law
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2015 8:49 AM CDT
UN Report: Both Sides in Gaza May Be War Criminals
In this July 29, 2014, file photo, smoke and fire from an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City.   (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa, File)

Evidence of "serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law" in the Gaza Strip was noted in a UN report released today—and both Israelis and Palestinians got hammered, the AP reports. But the Human Rights Council probe into the Gaza war that started last July pays special attention to Israel's role, saying "the onus is on Israel" to explain why so many civilian targets were hit. It also criticizes the country for not giving adequate evacuation warning to civilians before airstrikes, per the Times of Israel. "The commission is concerned that impunity prevails across the board for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law allegedly committed by Israeli forces, whether it be in the context of active hostilities in Gaza or killings, torture, and ill-treatment in the West Bank," the report reads. "Israel must break with its recent lamentable track record in holding wrong-doers accountable."

Not that the Palestinians are off the hook. The report found evidence of "indiscriminate" targeting of Israeli civilians by Palestinian rockets; described the "immense distress and disruption to the lives of Israeli civilians"; and cited testimony on the "trauma caused by the constant threat of rocket attacks, infiltrations, and displacement," as well as from the tunnel system that "traumatized Israeli civilians who feared they could be attacked at any moment by gunmen bursting out of the ground," as the Times puts it. Neither side is pleased with the report, per the Guardian. Benjamin Netanyahu—who refused to cooperate with the probe—called it "biased" and written "under a committee that does everything but protect human rights." A senior Hamas official swung at the accusations that civilians were targeted. (Read more Gaza stories.)

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