UN: Human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel must not go unpunished

ООН: нарушения прав человека на оккупированной палестинской территории и в Израиле не должны остаться без наказания

In the photo: a tent of internally displaced people in Rafah. UN: Human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel must not go unpunished Human rights

Unlawful killings, hostage-taking, destruction of civilian property, collective punishment, attacks on civilian infrastructure – these and other gross violations of human rights and international law were committed in the past year in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel. This is stated in a new UN report published on Friday.

Bring to justice

The report was prepared by experts from the UN Human Rights Office. They called for the accountability of all those responsible for serious violations committed by parties in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as in Israel during the 12-month period until October 31, 2023.

“The entrenched impunity that our Office has reported for decades cannot be allowed to continue. All parties must be held accountable for the violations that have been observed throughout the 56 years of occupation and 16 years of siege of Gaza and are being committed today, said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk. “Justice remains essential to ending cycles of violence and so that Palestinians and Israelis can take meaningful steps toward peace.”

Violations of International Law

The report raises a wide range of issues related to killings, hostage-taking, destruction of civilian property, collective punishment and deprivation of essential services, attacks on civilian infrastructure, forced displacement, incitement to hatred and violence, and sexual assault and torture.

Further investigations are needed to establish the full scale of the crimes committed, the authors of the document note.

The entrenched impunity cannot be allowed to continue

Türk called on all parties to immediately stop violations of international humanitarian law and human rights and carry out “prompt, independent, impartial, thorough, effective and transparent” investigation of all alleged violations. All those responsible for violations must be brought to justice in a fair trial, the High Commissioner noted.

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

Violations committed by Palestinian factions

The report states that al-Qassam, the armed wing of Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups committed serious violations when they attacked Israel on October 7 and 8. These include attacks on civilians, deliberate killing and ill-treatment of civilians, destruction of civilian objects and hostage-taking, which amount to war crimes.

Reports that Members of Palestinian armed groups and others have committed rape, sexual assault and torture and require further investigation and accountability under international law, report authors note.

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Israeli Response

Israel’s ensuing military response and its choice of means and methods of warfare resulted in widespread suffering for the Palestinians, including the massacre of civilians, massive, repeated displacement, destruction of homes and deprivation of sufficient food and other basic necessities, the report said. Women and children were especially affected. Israel’s military operations committed “clear violations of international law,” the report says.

In addition, severe restrictions on the provision of basic services and humanitarian aid imposed by Israel in Gaza have led to famine and the spread of disease. A large part of the population was repeatedly forced to leave their homes and seek refuge.

The blockade and siege of Gaza, the authors of the report emphasize, is tantamount to collective punishment, and can also be regarded as using hunger as an method of warfare, which is a war crime and, depending on further investigation, may amount to other serious crimes under international law.

Three “landmark incidents” »

The report, along with numerous other cases, identifies three landmark incidents that raise particular concerns regarding respect for international humanitarian law. Two strikes on the Jabaliya refugee camp and one on the town of Al-Yarmouk in Gaza City were carried out using high-explosive fragmentation munitions with a wide area of ​​effect in densely populated areas. The strikes caused enormous destruction. The UN Human Rights Office has confirmed a total of 153 deaths in the attacks, but it is possible the number could be as high as 243. According to reports, no warnings were given before the attacks and no efforts were made to evacuate homes.

The use of such weapons in densely populated areas is of grave concern, given their indiscriminate impact and the predictability of significant civilian casualties, the UN’s top human rights official said. Using a weapon knowing that it will cause excessive incidental civilian casualties constitutes a war crime, says the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The report also condemns the attacks , which damaged or destroyed a large number of hospitals throughout Gaza. Medical facilities are protected infrastructure under international humanitarian law.

The document calls for Israel to be held accountable for its actions in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, where there has been a significant increase in unlawful killings, mass arrests, ill-treatment and disproportionate restrictions on movement since October 7.


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