UN commission accuses Israel of war crimes


Israeli forces have committed war crimes and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, and there are “reasonable grounds” to conclude Hamas and loyalists have done the same, a UN inquiry concluded in a report released June 12. The report, which covers Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks on Israeli civilians and the initial phase of Israel’s retaliatory invasion and bombardment of Gaza, was produced by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, & Israel (Commission). The UN Human Rights Council established the Commission in 2021 to monitor human rights and humanitarian concerns in the region.

In the course of Israel’s retaliatory invasion of Gaza, which began days after the Oct. 7 attacks, the Commission found that Israel committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law:

[T]he immense numbers of civilian casualties and widespread destruction of civilian objects and crucial civilian infrastructure are the inevitable results of Israel’s chosen strategy for the use of force during these hostilities, undertaken with intent to cause maximum damage, disregarding distinction, proportionality and adequate precautions.

The report also accused Israel of using “starvation as a method of war” against the people of Gaza. In February of this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of a surge in malnutrition cases among children and pregnant or breastfeeding women in the territory.

On its findings against Hamas and supporters, the Commission reported:

In relation to the attack of 7 October in Israel, the Commission concludes on reasonable grounds that members of the military wings of Hamas and of other Palestinian armed groups, as well as Palestinian civilians who were directly participating in the hostilities, deliberately killed, injured, mistreated, took hostages and committed SGBV [sexual and gender-based violence] against civilians… These actions constitute war crimes and violations and abuses of IHL [international humanitarian law] and IHRL [international human rights law].

Following the report’s release, Israeli diplomats accused the Commission of “systematic anti-Israeli discrimination.”

The Commission’s findings come amid an ongoing genocide case against Israel in the International Court of Justice.

From Jurist, June 12. Used with permission.

See our last reports on genocide accusations against Israel.

Photo: badwanart0/Pixabay via Jurist

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