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The United Nations said Israel’s attacks may have violated the laws of war

The United Nations Human Rights Office said Israeli air strikes in Gaza may have systematically violated the laws of war requiring civilians and civilian infrastructure to be protected.

That is the conclusion of a report on what it calls six “symbolic attacks” on residential buildings, schools, refugee camps and markets between October 9 and November 2. 12 last year.

The United Nations said it had verified that at least 218 people were killed in the incidents and that civilian objects were destroyed.

Israel’s delegation in Geneva rejected the UN findings as “factually, legally and methodologically flawed”.

They emphasized that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are operating in Gaza in accordance with international law and accused Hamas of illegally engaging civilians.

The Israeli army launched a campaign to destroy the Palestinian armed group in response to an unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7, in which about 1,200 people – mostly civilians – were killed and 251 more injured. others were taken hostage.

According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, more than 37,390 people have been killed in Gaza since then. The agency’s figures do not distinguish between civilians and combatants, but reportedly identified 14,680 children, women and the elderly among those killed as of the end of April.

The report was released by the United Nations Office for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Wednesday reviewed six attacks in which they said Israel may have violated basic principles of the law of war.

The attacks reportedly involved the use of 2,000 lb (907 kg), 1,000 lb (453 kg), and 250 lb (110 kg) air-dropped projectiles, known as the GBU-31 respectively. , GBU-32 and GBU-39.

  • Jabalia Market, October 9, 2023 – The explosion destroyed two buildings. The United Nations said it verified at least 42 people were killed, including 14 children, and received information about 18 more deaths. The IDF said it attacked several military targets, including an underground “terror tunnel” and Hamas militants.
  • Taj3 Tower, Gaza City, October 25 – The seven-story residential building and six nearby structures were destroyed. The United Nations confirmed at least 105 people were killed, including 47 children. Seven other deaths were reported. The IDF said the attacks that day hit “a number of highly valuable and unique military assets and infrastructure of Hamas.”
  • Camp Jabalia, October 31 – Ten structures in the densely populated refugee camp were destroyed. The United Nations confirmed at least 56 people were killed, including 23 children, and received reports of 43 other deaths. The IDF said the attack killed the commander of a Hamas battalion and a “large number of terrorists” hiding in the tunnel.
  • Camp Bureij, 2 November – At least 12 buildings in the refugee camp were destroyed. The United Nations verified that 15 people were killed, including 9 children, and received information about 7 additional deaths. The IDF said it attacked “several Hamas infrastructure”.
  • Al-Buraq School, Gaza City, November 10 – Part of two floors of the school was destroyed. At least 34 people are believed to have died. The IDF said it attacked a Hamas company commander hiding there, other operatives and military infrastructure.
  • Shujaiya neighborhood, Gaza City, December 2 – Fifteen buildings were destroyed. The United Nations received reports that 60 people were killed. The IDF said the attack killed a Hamas battalion commander, other fighters and military infrastructure.

The United Nations report said that GBU-31, GBU-32 and GBU-39 are mainly used to penetrate many floors of concrete and can completely collapse high-rise buildings.

“Given the dense population in the target areas, the use of weapons with such wide-area effects would most likely result in an indiscriminate attack,” it added.

“Explosive weapons with such wide-ranging effects cannot be directed at a specific military target in densely populated areas of Gaza and the impact cannot be limited, leading to military and civilian targets. civilians and civilian targets are attacked without discrimination.”

The report said no specific warnings were given before the five attacks and that the presence of a commander, several fighters or several military targets in one area “did not cause the entire area to neighboring areas become military targets.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said: “The requirement to choose means and methods of warfare that avoid or at least minimize to any extent harm to civilians appears to have been violated in connection with the continuing in Israel’s bombing campaign.

He called on Israel to make public the detailed findings of the IDF investigation into the six incidents “to identify those responsible for the violations, hold them accountable, and ensure all rights victims have access to the truth, justice and compensation.

The Israeli delegation to the United Nations in Geneva condemned the reportsaid that it “had hindsight and methodological biases that affected the reliability of its legal assessment”.

“The sole objective of this thematic report is to criticize and criticize Israel, while further protecting Hamas terrorists in Gaza,” it added.

It also asserts that these conclusions are based on publicly available information and data released by Hamas, ignore operational considerations, and do not address Hamas’s tactics.

“Hamas systematically and illegally inserted its military assets into populated areas and carried out military operations among, behind and under the authority of civilians in an effort to deliberately and strategically to maximize damage to civilians,” it said. “It also blatantly manipulated the statistics surrounding the number of casualties.”

It added: “Israel is committed to fulfilling its obligations under national and international law, in particular the principles of distinction, proportionality and prevention.”


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