U.N. Accuses Israel and Palestinian Militants of Possible War Crimes in Gaza

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Rafah. the Gaza Strip
Photo: Eloisa d'Orsi

The United Nations Human Rights Council released a report concerning the conflict in Gaza last summer on Monday. The findings include evidence that Israel and Palestinian militants may have both committed war crimes. “The extent of the devastation and human suffering in Gaza was unprecedented,” Justice Mary McGowan Davis, a former New York Supreme Court justice who led the investigation, said in a statement, “and will impact generations to come.” She added“We are not here to deliver a guilty verdict with respect to any party.”

The U.N. accuses Palestinian groups of targeting civilian centers with rockets, and called on Israel to explain the “clear advantage to be gained” from air strikes over residential buildings during a time when many families would be home.

The report says that 1,462 Palestinian civilians and six Israeli civilians were killed, and at least 142 Palestinian families lost three or more people that summer. Israel, which did not cooperate with the U.N.’s investigation or let the commission into Gaza, said that the report was biased, but that the foreign ministry would study it. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the U.N. Human Rights Council, “It is a committee that condemns Israel more than it condemns Iran, Syria, and North Korea combined.” Israel originally had a problem with the commission because its former chair was William Schabas, a law professor who once consulted for the Palestine Liberation Organization. 

A Hamas official told the BBC that “the report contains some positive paragraphs condemning the Israeli occupation,” but Palestinian groups have not responded to the allegations concerning their side’s conduct in the conflict. 

U.N. Releases Report on 2014 Gaza Conflict