Independent investigation: Hamas and Israel committed war crimes

Независимое расследование: ХАМАС и Израиль совершали военные преступления

Destruction in the northern Gaza Strip. Independent investigation: Hamas and Israel committed war crimes International law

During the October 7 attack and subsequent military operations, Palestinian armed groups and the Israeli authorities committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. This is one of the conclusions of the report of the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel.

“Tipping Point”

“Amid months of loss and despair, retribution and atrocities, the only tangible result has been the deepening suffering of both Palestinians and Israelis, with civilians once again bearing the brunt of the decisions of those in power,” the commission’s report said.

The brutal Hamas attack on October 7 on communities in southern Israel was a “watershed moment” for both Israelis and Palestinians that could change the direction of the conflict at real risk further consolidating and expanding the occupation, the Commission said.

For the Israelis, the attack was unprecedented in scale in modern history, with hundreds of people killed and kidnapped in one day, recalling not only to Israeli Jews, but to Jewish people around the world about the painful trauma of past persecution.

For Palestinians, Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip has been the longest, largest and bloodiest since 1948, causing enormous destruction and loss of life and bringing back for many Palestinians traumatic memories of other Israeli incursions and the Nakba. 

Stop the cycle of violence

The commission emphasized that the attack on Israel and the subsequent Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip should not be viewed as isolated events.

“The only way to stop the recurring cycle of violence, including aggression and retaliation on both sides, is to ensure strict compliance international law,” the Commission experts emphasized.

“This includes an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, discrimination, oppression and denial of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, and a guarantee of peace and security for Jews and Palestinians,” they added.

Attack by Hamas

The Commission further noted that during the October 7 attack on Israel, members of military units Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups, as well as Palestinian civilians who directly participated in the hostilities, intentionally killed, wounded and abused civilians, including Israeli citizens and foreign nationals, as well as taking them hostage and committing sexual crimes against them and gender in nature.

Similar acts have also been committed against members of the Israeli Security Forces, including soldiers considered “out of commission,” such as wounded soldiers.

“These actions constitute war crimes and violations of international humanitarian and international human rights law,” the Commission’s report said.

The experts also concluded that Israeli women are ‘disproportionately’ subjected to sexual violence. 

Failure to protect civilians

The report notes that Israeli authorities “failed to protect civilians in southern Israel on almost all fronts,” including failing to quickly deploy security forces to protect civilians and evacuate them. October 7.

In several areas, the Israeli Security Forces launched the so-called “Hannibal Directive” and killed at least 14 Israeli civilians. The directive is said to be aimed at preventing members of the Israeli Security Forces from being captured by enemy forces. response, particularly in relation to allegations of sexual violence, which undermine the possibility of future trials, accountability and justice,” the Commission added.

Violations with side of the Israeli military

An independent commission created by the UN Human Rights Council also concluded that during the military operation in the Gaza Strip, Israel committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

According to the Commission, the huge number of civilian casualties and widespread destruction of civilian objects and civilian infrastructure were “the inevitable results of Israel’s chosen strategy of use of force” during hostilities undertaken with the intent to inflict maximum damage and disregard the principle of proportionality.

“The deliberate use by the Israeli Security Forces of heavy weapons of great destructive power in densely populated areas constitutes a deliberate and direct attack on the civilian population, primarily affecting women and children,” the Commission experts said, adding that this is confirmed by the significant and growing number of casualties over the weeks and months, “without any change in Israeli policy or military strategy.”

Commission Recommendations

The Commission’s experts presented a number of recommendations. They called on the Israeli government to immediately stop attacks causing death and injury to civilians in the Gaza Strip, end the blockade of the Gaza Strip, implement a ceasefire, provide reparations to those whose property was illegally destroyed, and ensure that basic necessities, critical to the health and well-being of the civilian population could be immediately delivered to those in need.

They called on the Government of the State of Palestine and the de facto authorities in Gaza to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held in the enclave, to protect them from violence, including sexual violence, to allow visits by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, contact of hostages with their families and provision of medical care. – in accordance with international humanitarian law, and to cease all indiscriminate targeting of civilians.

Israel rejected the report’s findings

After the report was published, Israel rejected the Independent Commission’s findings. In a press release, the country’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva said there was “systematic anti-Israel discrimination”, political bias and a “false” parallel between Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants.

Commission of Inquiry

The Commission of Inquiry was created by the UN Human Rights Council to, among other things, investigate Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and abuses of international human rights law.

Report to be presented at the 56th session of the Council on Human Rights on 19 June 2024 in Geneva. The report is accompanied by two documents containing findings on the October 7 attack in Israel, as well as Israeli military operations and attacks in the Gaza Strip through the end of 2023.

The members of the Commission are not employees UN and do not receive a salary from the organization.

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