Israel may have violated laws of war in Gaza campaign, UN rights office says by StuffsEarth

Estimated read time 5 min read

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk. File
| Photo Credit: AFP

Israeli forces may have repeatedly violated fundamental principles of the laws of war and failed to distinguish between civilians and fighters in their Gaza Strip military campaign, the United Nations human rights office said on June 19.

In a report assessing six Israeli attacks that caused a high number of casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, the U.N. human rights office said Israeli forces “may have systematically violated the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precautions in attack.”

“The requirement to select means and methods of warfare that avoid or at the very least minimise to every extent civilian harm appears to have been consistently violated in Israel’s bombing campaign,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk.

Israel’s Gaza onslaught

Israel’s air and ground offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory, according to health authorities there.

Also read: Holding Israel accountable

Israel launched its assault after Hamas fighters stormed across the border into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking more than 250 people hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Last week the U.N. human rights office said the killing of civilians during an Israeli operation to free four hostages could amount to war crimes, but so might Palestinian militants’ holding of captives in densely populated areas.

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