The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has warned that the Israel Defense Forces bombings in Gaza, which killed more than 60 children, could be “indiscriminate” and “disproportionate” as a war crime.
The bombings on Gaza were the main reason for an escalation of tensions, which also spread to other areas such as East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and raised fears of an open war like the one in 2014 when the Israeli authorities launched a ground operation to combat the strip Palestinian militias and to limit their ability to launch attacks.
Bachelet has submitted a report from his office to the UN Human Rights Council that estimates the number of Palestinians killed in the recent Israeli attacks in Gaza – “including 63 children” – with several “thousands” wounded and 74,000 displaced persons killed . In the West Bank, 28 Palestinians, including five children, were killed as a result of these tensions.
There have been ten deaths on the Israeli side, including two children that affected Bachelet. He also recalled that “thousands” of people lived in fear of falling projectiles and were forced to seek refuge from takeoffs in what was “a clear violation of International” suspected humanitarian law “.
However, it was also recognized that the situation on either side of the Gaza Strip is not comparable. “Unlike Israeli civilians … Palestinians have virtually no protection from air strikes and military operations launched in one of the most densely populated areas in the world. They cannot escape due to the 14-year air and sea land blockade,” said the high commissioner.
The former Chilean president has warned of a large number of civilian casualties on the Palestinian side and of the destruction of the infrastructure, which in theory is not a military target. In his opinion, such actions create “serious doubts” that Israel could also violate international humanitarian law and even commit war crimes.
The United Nations “saw no evidence” that in fact all targets had military justification as they include schools, media offices or streets. Although she believed that the use of civil land as a shield was a grave violation, she added, “The actions of one party do not release the other party from its obligations under international law.”
“There is no doubt that Israel has the right to defend its citizens and residents. However, Palestinians also have rights. The same thing. They also have the right to live safely and freely in their homes, with adequate and essential services and facilities in relation to the right to life and physical integrity, “Bachelet condemned.
The High Commissioner recalled that the crossing of attacks in Gaza was due to previous tensions over the threat of evictions in the Sheikh Jarrá neighborhood in East Jerusalem and police intervention on the mosque esplanade. For Bachelet, there is “an alarming situation” in the West Bank that “goes unnoticed”.
“The tensions, protests and violence involving the Israeli security forces forcibly have reached levels we have not seen in years,” he warned, recalling that it was not until May 14 that a dozen Palestinians who participated in demonstrations were killed.
It was also “extremely concerned” about the “documented” cases of Jewish settlers using live fire to attack Palestinian citizens, in some cases allegedly with collusion with Israeli forces.
Bachelet’s concern extends to clashes between Palestinian citizens of Israel and ultra-Orthodox groups in various cities, as in some cases the police did not intervene to “adequately protect the Palestinian victims” but instead used force to suppress the mobilizations.
The Israeli authorities and the Palestinian militias reached a ceasefire agreement on May 21, and the situation has calmed down, but the UN human rights chief has warned that the causes that led to this wave of tension are still there It is a question of time before the next round of violence begins. “
For this reason he hopes that there will be a peace process to address the underlying causes, such as “the end of the occupation”, and has indicated that it will also be “essential” to turn the page that those responsible will be responsible make this possible Abuses will be held accountable. “No matter how long the road is, ‘infinity’ shouldn’t be an acceptable term,” he added.