UN envoy: Israeli Gaza offensive seems to be war crime of greatest magnitude (Haaretz)

Dat Israel onnodig en disproportioneel geweld heeft toegepast in Gaza, is voor elke onbevooroordeelde waarnemer allang duidelijk. Dat de VN-autoriteit zulks officieel rapporteert is echter opvallend. Zijn oproep om mogelijke inbreuken van internationaal recht door zowel Israel als Hamas te laten onderzoeken, zal vooral niet goed vallen bij de VN-lidstaten die het zionistisch beleid van Israel onvoorwaardelijk steunen, zoals de V.S. en Nederland.

A United Nations human rights investigator said on Thursday that Israel’s offensive against Hamas in densely populated Gaza appeared to constitute a war crime of the "greatest magnitude."

Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said the Geneva Conventions required warring forces to distinguish between military targets and surrounding civilians.

"If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attacks is inherently unlawful and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law," Falk said.

"On the basis of the preliminary evidence available, there is reason to reach this conclusion," he wrote in an annual report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Falk called for an independent experts group to be set up to probe possible war crimes committed by both Israeli forces and Hamas.

Violations included Israel’s alleged "targeting of schools, mosques and ambulances" during the December 27-January 18 offensive and its use of weapons including white phosphorus, as well as Hamas firing of rockets at civilian targets in southern Israel…

UN envoy: Gaza op seems to be war crime of greatest magnitude (Haaretz /News Agencies / ICH)

Fresh allegations have come to light that gung-ho leadership inculcated a culture of disregard for Palestinian casualties

An investigation by a group of former Israeli soldiers has uncovered new evidence of the military’s conduct during the assault on Gaza two months ago. According to the group Breaking the Silence, the witness statements of the 15 soldiers who have come forward to describe their concerns over Operation Cast Lead appear to corroborate claims of random killings and vandalism carried out during the operation made by a separate group of anonymous servicemen during a seminar at a military college.

Although Breaking the Silence’s report is not due to be published for several months, the testimony it has received already suggests widespread abuses stemming from orders originating with the Israeli military chain of command…

Gaza war crime claims gather pace as more troops speak out (Peter Beaumont in The Observer en Guardian)

Newspapers publish fuller recollections of what happened during the 22-day offensive, including the killings of an elderly woman and a mother and her two children.

Israel soldier calls order during Gaza assault ‘murder’ (By Richard Boudreaux in Los Angeles Times)

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