UN report: Israeli aggression on Gaza has led to massive suffering of Palestinians

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GENEVA: The Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip has led to massive suffering of Palestinians, including the killing of civilians on a broad scale, extensive and repeated displacement, destruction of homes and the denial of sufficient food and other essentials of life, said a UN report.

‘Women and children have suffered especially. Clear violations of international law have been committed,’ confirmed a report issued today by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The report stressed that the severe restrictions on the supply of basic services and humanitarian aid imposed by Israel on Gaza have raised the specters of famine, dehydration, and the spread of disease.

‘Most of the population has been repeatedly displaced and crammed into shelters. The blockade and siege imposed on Gaza amount to collective punishment and may also amount to the use of starvation as a method of war, which are war crimes, and may also, depending on further investigation, amount to other serious crimes
under international law,’ the report states.

The report, which documented Israeli human rights violations in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including Jerusalem during a period of 12 months and up to October 31, 2023, called for accountability and justice across the board for serious violations of the laws of armed conflict and other gross human rights violations.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Trk stressed that the entrenched impunity reported by our Office for decades cannot be permitted to continue. There must be accountability for violations seen over 56 years of occupation and the 16 years of blockade of Gaza, and up to today, he added.

‘Justice is a pre-requisite for ending cycles of violence and for Palestinians and Israelis to be able to take meaningful steps towards peace,’ said the UN High Commissioner.

The report identified three emblematic incidents, amongst numerous others, which further raise very serious concerns about compliance with international humanitarian law; two str
ikes on Jabalia Refugee Camp and one on Al-Yarmouk, in Gaza City. They all involved the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in densely populated areas, said the report.

The strikes resulted in enormous destruction, added the report. The UN Human Rights Office verified a combined 153 killings in the attacks, but the number could be as high as 243. No warning was given, nor was any effort made to evacuate residential buildings prior to these strikes, according to reports.

‘The use of such weapons in densely populated areas raises serious concerns as to how such attacks comply with the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in the conduct of military operations, given the indiscriminate effects of such weapons when used in such areas and the foreseeability of the extensive loss of civilian life,’ said Trk.

‘Launching an indiscriminate attack resulting in death or injury to civilians, or an attack in the knowledge that it will cause excessive incidental civilian loss, injury or
damage, are war crimes.’

The report also decried attacks damaging or destroying a large number of hospitals across Gaza. “Medical facilities are protected infrastructure under international humanitarian law,” said the report.

The UN report also called for accountability concerning Israeli practices in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Since 7 October. It noted a significant increase in unlawful killings, mass arrests, ill-treatment and disproportionate restrictions on movement.

Trk urged for an immediate end to violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of international human rights law and to conduct prompt, independent, impartial, thorough, effective and transparent investigations into all alleged violations. ‘All those responsible for violations must be held to account in fair trials.’

He called on all parties to cooperate with international mechanisms for accountability, including the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

Source: Pale
stine news & Information Agency – WAFA