UN envoy calls for probe into Gaza civilian deaths
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UN envoy calls for probe into Gaza civilian deaths

Human rights rapporteur questions whether Israel adhered to international law, but ignores Hamas’s illegal tactics

Palestinians inspect the destruction of Farouq Mosque after it was hit in an Israeli airstrike, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on July 22, 2014. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Palestinians inspect the destruction of Farouq Mosque after it was hit in an Israeli airstrike, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on July 22, 2014. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

A United Nations envoy called for an investigation into the civilian deaths during the Israel-Gaza conflict and the implementation of the Gaza reconstruction plan.

Makarim Wibisono, an Indonesian diplomat who recently took over as the special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, also recommended the lifting of the blockade on Gaza, stopping the mistreatment of Palestinian children in the custody of Israeli authorities and a halt to Israel’s policy of demolishing the homes of suspected Palestinian terrorists, as part of his report submitted this week to the UN’s Human Rights Council.

Israel has no diplomatic relations with Indonesia.

In the report, Wibisono also called on Israel to: “Conduct prompt, thorough, effective, independent, impartial and transparent investigations into all alleged incidents of killing of civilians during the hostilities, and make public the findings and any steps taken regarding accountability.”

“The stark disparity in casualty figures on the two sides … reflects the [skewed] balance of power and the disproportionate cost borne by Palestinian civilians, raising questions as to whether Israel adhered to the international law principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions.”

The report does not mention the tunnels dug by Hamas from Gaza to Israel, to be used for terror attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers, nor does it address Hamas’ practice of taking up military positions in civilian neighborhoods. It does report that “thousands of indiscriminate rockets were reportedly fired by Palestinian armed groups from Gaza.”

Makarim Wibisono (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/File)
Makarim Wibisono (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/File)

Wibisono was denied entry by Israel into Gaza to research the report. His findings were based on interviews conducted with witnesses and victims in Amman and Cairo as well as video calls with victims in the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency.

According to Wibisono, 2,256 Palestinians were killed during the July-August conflict, of whom 1,563 were civilians including 538 children, while 66 Israeli soldiers and five civilians died. Israel says about half of the Gaza fatalities were civilians, and blames Hamas for all deaths since it emplaced its war machine in residential areas.

“Voices from across the Occupied Palestinian Territory called in unison for accountability, an end to the blockade and an end to the occupation. If another round of deadly violence is to be avoided, the underlying problems perpetuating the conflict and the almost daily violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people must be addressed and those responsible brought to justice,” Wibisono said in his conclusions.

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