International: UN Report of Israeli war on Gaza (2014)
I found the decapitated bodies of my uncle and daughter. My cousin was alive but died on the way to hospital. Another cousin’s body was found sliced in two. We had ten corpses in the first ambulances. No other survivors were found. […] After having removed the cement I identified my cousin Dina’s body. What I witnessed was horrible. She was 9 months pregnant and she had come from her home to her parents’ house to have her baby. We could not imagine that she had passed away. Her stomach was ripped open and the unborn baby was lying there with the skull shattered. We kept searching for other corpses and found my uncle’s wife. We had great difficulty removing all the pieces of cement from her body. - Report of the detailed findings of the independent commission of inquiry established pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-21/1
The UN commission calls upon the Government of Israel to conduct a thorough, transparent, objective and credible review of policies governing military operations and of law enforcement activities in the context of the occupation, as defined by political and military decision-makers, to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights law, specifically with regard to:
(a) The use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in densely populated areas, including in the vicinity of specifically protected objects;
(b) The definition of military objectives;
(c) The tactics of targeting residential buildings;
(d) The effectiveness of precautionary measures;
(e) The protection of civilians in the context of the application of the Hannibal directive;
(f) Ensuring that the principle of distinction is respected when active neighbourhoods are declared “sterile combat zones”;
(g) The use of live ammunition in crowd control situations.
Publisher’s Note: Reports of the Israeli Occupation Force attacks on GAZA continue. Here is the UN Full Report on Israel’s attack on GAZA 2014 (called “Report of the detailed findings of the independent commission of inquiry established pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-21/1∗∗”) released overnight.
The BDS campaign to challenge the apartheid state of Israel is an important response coming from Palestinian Civil Society.
Resistance on the ground deserves support from workers and their organisations everywhere.
Meanwhile, at home, local celebrity support for the genocide needs to be exposed and financial sanctions taken against them and their businesses and organisations.
Israel is in violation of international law and tried to overcome this by setting up its own ‘inquiry’ claiming innocence. Israel exports its military death machine throughout the world – to the barrios of Brazil and into the jungles of Myanma (Burma).
The UN report details the systematic and precision bombing of people’s homes in GAZA in 2014. No military peacekeeping force is recommended. The Palestinians are left to fend for themselves with crude rockets aimed at military targets.
The UN report states:
“The blockade of Gaza by Israel, fully implemented since 2007 and described by the Secretary-General as “a continuing collective penalty against the population in Gaza was strangling the economy in Gaza and imposed severe restrictions on the rights of the Palestinians.
Two previous rounds of hostilities in the Strip since 2008 had not only led to loss of life and injury but also weakened an already fragile infrastructure.
Palestinians have demonstrated extraordinary resilience in recent years, living in an environment scarred by physical destruction and psychological trauma.
In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, settlement-related activities and settler violence continued to be at the core of most of the human rights violations against Palestinians.
In the absence of any progress on the political front, the risk of a flare-up of the situation was evident.”
The report notes:
“Many of the incidents took place in the evening or at dawn, when families gathered for iftar and suhhur, the Ramadan meals, or at night, when people were asleep. The timing of the attacks increased the likelihood that many people, often entire families, would be at home. Attacking residential buildings rendered women particularly vulnerable to death and injury.
“In six of the cases examined by the commission, and in most cases reported on by non-governmental organisations, there is little or no information available to explain why residential buildings, which are prima facie civilian objects immune from attack, were considered to be legitimate military objectives.”
The report concludes:
“In many incidents, however, the weapons used, the timing of attacks, and the fact that the targets were located in densely populated areas indicate that the Israel Defence Forces may not have done everything feasible to avoid or limit civilian casualties.
“Israel should provide specific information on the effective contribution of a given house or inhabitant to military action and the clear advantage to be gained by the attack. Should a strike directly and intentionally target a house in the absence of a specific military objective, this would amount to a violation of the principle of distinction. It may also constitute a direct attack against civilian objects or civilians, a war crime under international criminal law.”
The UN commission calls upon the State of Palestine (sic):
(a) To ensure that investigations into violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including international crimes,
by the Palestinian Authority, the authorities in Gaza and Palestinian armed groups,
where substantiated, comply with international human rights standards and that full accountability is achieved, including through criminal proceedings;
(b) To accelerate efforts to translate the declarations on Palestinian unity
into tangible measures on grounds that would enable the Government of national consensus to ensure the protection of human rights and to achieve accountability for victims.
683. The commission calls upon the authorities in Gaza and Palestinian armed
(a) To respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution,
including by ending all attacks on Israeli civilians and civilian objects, and stopping all rocket attacks and other actions that may spread terror among the civilian population in Israel;
(b) To take measures to prevent extrajudicial executions and eradicate
torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; to cooperate with national
investigations aimed to bring those responsible for violations of international law to justice; and to combat the stigma faced by families of alleged collaborators.
This call on the State of Palestine is ironic, to me at least.
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