The UN’s 575-page report, according to a UN press release, said Israel’s operation was conducted “in a deliberate policy of disproportionate force.” It accused Israel of “direct attacks against civilians with lethal outcome,” including an incident in which Palestinians were sent into a house by Israeli soldiers, and the house was eventually shelled. Seven incidents were also noted that involved “the shooting of civilians while they were trying to leave their homes to walk to a safer place, waving white flags and, in some of the cases, following an injunction from the Israeli forces to do so.” The report also said launchings of rockets and mortars from Palestinian armed groups at Israeli civilian areas constituted war crimes.
Israel responded strongly to the report, pointing out that it failed to adequately address the issue of terrorists’ use of civilians in the conflict, such as “the deliberate terrorist strategy of operating in the heart of densely populated civilian areas” and “the abuse of civilian facilities by terrorist groups.” They said, “By turning a blind eye to such tactics, it effectively rewards them.” During the campaign, Israel had video evidence of secondary explosions from a mosque hit by Israel, indicating weapons were being stored there. The Gaza report said the situations it investigated did not prove such conduct, although “it cannot exclude that this might have occurred in other cases.”
Addressing the allegations of the report from both Israel and Gaza’s authorities, the UN press release called for “good faith“ and “independent proceedings” and said that if such did not happen within six months, the UN Security Council should refer the issue to the International Criminal Court.
The Israel Defense Forces was examining around 100 complaints, and 13 military police criminal investigations were underway, including some on the possible use of human shields. The Israeli response said the UN report was “critical of Israeli internal investigations, even though these compare favorably to investigations of allegations in military matters in most western countries and have regularly resulted in criminal investigations and convictions.” Israel’s response portrayed the basis behind the mission as biased, noting multiple nations chose not to vote in favor of its “one-sided mandate…and the resolution that established it.” Israel also accused the report of downplaying Israel’s efforts to protect civilians.
”Regrettably, a one-sided report of this nature—claiming to represent international law—can only weaken the standing of law in future conflicts. At the same time, it will broadcast a deeply troubling message to terrorist groups wherever they are that the cynical tactics of seeking to exploit civilian suffering for political ends actually pay dividends.”
By Joshua Spurlock, BFP Israel Mosaic Radio
Photo Credit: Photo: Isranet
Photo Credit: Photo: Isranet
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