– UN must urgently investigate war crimes in Israeli-Gaza conflict – Amnesty Intl (RT, July 12, 2014):
Amnesty International (AI) has urged the UN to urgently mandate an independent international investigation into Israeli airstrikes on Gaza as well as Palestine’s indiscriminate shelling of Israel, and hold accountable those responsible for war crimes.
Despite claims by Israel that its operation “Protective Edge”, launched June 8, targets Hamas militants, most of more than a hundred Palestinians killed in airstrikes on Gaza are civilians, Amnesty says, adding that at least 24 children and 16 women were among the casualties.
Simultaneously, at least 20 people in Israel have been wounded by rocket attacks from Palestinian territories, according to the human rights watchdog, calling on the UN to set up a “fact-finding mission to Gaza and Israel to investigate violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict.”
“Swift UN action is needed as lives hang in the balance,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International. “The international community must not repeat previous mistakes, standing by and watching the devastating consequences for civilians of both sides.”
Amnesty sees arms embargo on Israel and all Palestinian military groups as a means of preventing the violence escalating further.
“Pending such an embargo, all states must immediately suspend all transfers of military equipment, assistance and munitions to the parties, which have failed to properly investigate violations committed in previous conflicts, or bring those responsible to justice,” Amnesty’s official statement reads.
Strikes on homes, performed as part of Israel’s military operation, are a matter of particular concern to human rights groups. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, on Friday questioned the legality of such attacks.
Israel has argued that all targets in the Gaza strip are either military facilities or are homes of Hamas militants.