The United Nations' Independent Commission of Inquiry has released a report on Israel’s invasion of Gaza in 2014, accusing both Israel and Palestine of potential violations of international law that could amount to war crimes.
The Commission chaired by former New York Supreme Court judge, Mary McGowan Davis, carried out an inquiry into the Gaza war to find whether the military operations by Israel and the counter attacks by Palestine between July 6 and August 26 could come under suspected war crimes. The 217 page report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council is apparently biased with the Commission taking pains to make it even handed. According to the report, 2251 Palestinians including 1462 civilians were killed in the 51-day long Israeli military operation titled ‘Operation Protective Edge’. Palestinian armed groups fired 4, 881 rockets and 1, 753 mortars towards Israel killing six civilians and injuring 1, 600 out of which 270 were children. In Gaza which is also known as ‘open prison’, 18, 000 residential buildings were destroyed in the bombings. The Commission said that they didn’t find any evidence of why the Israeli forces targeted ‘residential buildings in Gaza late at night, risking mass civilian casualties’. The report examined 15 separate cases in which 216 civilians including 115 children and 50 women were killed in attacks of residential homes with precision weapons.
The international community and the UN had watched with indifference Israel’s brutal atrocities in Gaza strip last year that killed thousands of civilians including women and children and caused widespread destruction of buildings. ‘Breaking the silence’ an Israeli human rights group, released a 237 pages report last month which revealed how the Israeli forces literally obliterated Gaza after it invaded the Palestinian territory with the aim of countering Hamas. The report said that the army has committed “grave violations” of international law during the war last year. A separate board of inquiry appointed by UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon also cited the slaughter of 44 civilians taking shelter inside United Nations School, by the Israeli forces. The report noted that most of the attacks took place in the evenings or at dawn when the people gathered together for Ifthar and Ramadan meals or at night when they were asleep. The main goal of Israel was evidently maximum possible deaths and destruction, says the report.
The UN report said that the rockets used by the Palestinian armed groups were ‘indiscriminate in nature’ suggesting that their main goal was to ‘spread terror among the civilian population’. It also said that the ‘targeted mortar attack against civilians constituted violation of international humanitarian law’ which may amount to a war crime. The Commission added that the weapons used by the Palestinians lacked guidance systems to aim at military objectives. The Tel Aviv government might have been wary of an unbiased inquiry into the matter due to which it did not cooperate with the Commission. The report could be used for preliminary investigations already underway by the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor. The government did not allow the Commission the permission to even collect the evidences by visiting Israel and Gaza. The Egypt military government had also taken a stance favourable to Israel. Israel as usual has denied the report with Prime Minister Netanyahu calling it ‘flawed and biased’. He said that Israel has not committed any war crime. With the US having already said that the report is unacceptable, it is most likely to have the same fate as the Justice Gladstone report that probed the genocide in Gaza in 2008-2009.