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End Gaza-Israel violence, then work to end occupation: UN experts

Human Rights. Photp: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Geneva, May 18 (MNN) UN human rights experts on Tuesday called on the international community to demand an immediate end to the violence in Gaza and Israel, and to act decisively to address the underlying source of the conflict: The denial of collective and individual rights of the Palestinian people.

“This most recent violence has a depressingly familiar pattern to it,” the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights quoted the experts as saying.

“Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza exchange missiles and rockets following dispossession and the denial of rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, with Israel’s far greater firepower inflicting far higher death tolls and injuries and a much larger scale of property destruction.”

As of Monday, at least 211 Palestinians, including at least 59 children, have been killed in Gaza, along with 10 Israelis, including two children.

At least 10 Palestinians in the West Bank protesting the violence in Gaza have also been killed by Israeli security forces.

Almost 40,000 Palestinians have been displaced from their home, sheltering in UN compounds.

“The firing by Israel of missiles and shells into heavily populated areas of Gaza – particularly with the rising civilian toll and property destruction – constitute indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against civilians and civilian property. These attacks likely violate the laws of war and constitute a war crime,” the experts said.

“Similarly, the firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups deliberately or recklessly into Israeli urban areas likely violate international law and may well amount to a war crime. Armed groups in Gaza should also be held to account in their failure to take adequate precautions to protect the civilian population and civilian objects under their control against the effects of attacks.

“Both sides must strictly adhere to their responsibilities under international law, especially that of proportionality and necessity. There is no justification, including counter-terrorism or self-defence, to justify a wholesale abdication for the obligations of Parties to strictly obey international humanitarian law. The actions of both Israel and the Palestinian armed groups should be a matter for the International Criminal Court to investigate.”

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