UN on Israeli aggression on Gaza: Accountability is key to preventing recurrence
Reacting to the large death and injury toll, mainly among children, and the heavy destruction caused by three days of Israeli airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip that started on Friday, the United Nations Human Rights Office in the occupied Palestinian territory said it deplores the civilian casualties and damage to civilian objects, stressing that accountability is key to preventing recurrence of the aggression.
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“These casualty numbers and significant damage to civilian objects and facilities reported by humanitarian partners raise a grave concern with regard to respect for the international humanitarian law principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions. A number of Israeli strikes hit prima facie civilian objects, causing civilian casualties and damage to civilian objects. International humanitarian law prohibits attacks which may incidentally kill or injure civilians, or damage civilian objects, in a disproportionate manner to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated,” said the Human Rights Office.
It called for “prompt, independent, impartial, thorough and transparent investigations to be conducted into all incidents where civilians were killed or injured,” stressing, “An almost total lack of accountability persists for violations of international humanitarian law by all parties in previous escalations, and for recurring and ongoing Israeli violations of the law of occupation across the occupied Palestinian territory. This is one of the drivers of repeated escalations in hostilities and encourages the recurrence of violations.”
The Human Rights Office added: “Despite easing of the Israeli restrictions on the entry of critical goods, fuel, humanitarian personnel and exit of patients, the new emergency needs resulting from this most recent escalation come on top of the extremely high humanitarian needs of Gaza’s population resulting from the 15 years of blockade and closures, as well as the devastating escalation just over one year ago. The United Nations Human Rights Office calls on Israel to address ongoing drivers of violations, including the blockade which the UN Human Rights Committee has affirmed constitutes collective punishment of the entire civilian population of Gaza.”