UN investigators find evidence of Gaza war crimes

UN investigators find evidence of Gaza war crimes
The United Nations Inquiry into the 2014 war on Gaza says there is evidence pointing to the commission of war crimes by Israel and some Palestinian armed groups.
2 min read
22 June, 2015
Click to enlarge

A UN report into the 2014 Israeli military assault on Gaza has concluded that both sides in the conflict might have committed "war crimes".

The Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict said that there was "substantial information" and "credible allegations" that both Israel and Hamas militants had committed serious violations of international law.

War crimes

Mary McGowan Davis, the chair of the commission, said in a statement  that the extent of the devastation and human suffering in Gaza was "unprecedented and will impact generations to come." 

Israel has already slammed the report as biased.

In July 2014, Israel began a devastating assault on Gaza.

Israel launched more than 6,000 airstrikes were fired 50,000 artillery shells during the 51-day operation.

Huge areas of residential areas of Gaza were levelled by Israeli air strikes and shelling, which included the destruction of a UN school. 

     The extent of the devastation and human suffering in Gaza was unprecedented.

The conflict left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead, the majority civilians - a third of them children.

The report also said that hundreds of Palestinian dead were killed in their own homes. Months after the conflict ended, more than 100,000 Palestinians were left homeless.

Oxfam also reported that it would take a hundred years to rebuild Gaza unless the Israeli siege on the land strip was lifted.

'We all died'

One testimony was a member of the al-Najjar family who lost 19 of his relatives in an Israeli attack in Khan Younis on July 26.

"We all died that day, even those who survived," he said. 

More than 142 families lost three or more members in an attack on residential buildings during last summer's war, resulting in 742 deaths, the report said.

The UN said that that even when the impact on civilians became apparent, Israel did not revise its tactics.

"[It] raises questions of whether this was part of a broader policy which was at least tacitly approved at the highest level of government," the Commission said in a statement.

The UN Commission said that "impunity prevails" for in Israel responsible for human rights abuses.

Investigators urged Tel Aviv to "break with its recent lamentable track record in holding wrongdoers accountable." 

The Inquiry also blamed Hamas for the "indiscriminate" firing of missiles into Israel, and said the actions were intended to "spread terror."

The report was due to be unveiled in March, but the investigators obtained a delay after the head of the team quit under Israeli pressure.

Israel had demanded that the whole inquiry be "scrapped".