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Middle East

Israel blocks UN Gaza inquiry as own report declares 2014 conflict legal

media Israeli attacks on Gaza, July 2014 REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Israel has blocked a visit to the Palestinian territories by a UN rights envoy ahead of the publication of a United Nations report on last year's Gaza war that cost the lives of 2,200 Palastinians and 73 Israelis. Israel published its own 242-page report on the 2014 war on Sunday. 

 

The Israeli report, The 2014 Gaza Conflict, Factual And Legal Aspects, says Israel's intervention was legal and Hamas used civilians as human shields.

The Palestinians started the conflict, so action taken by the armed forces was justified, it argues.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

“We reject the report," Hamdi Shaqqura of the Palestinian Centre for Human rights told RFI. “We reject the whole narrative by the Israeli government. They are guilty of war crimes against Palestinian civilians.”

An “impartial, independent investigation” is needed, Shaqqura says. “We have no confidence whatsoever in the Israeli investigation carried out so far.”

The body responsible for the investigation is part of Israel’s military, and can therefore never been objective, he alleges.

The government report charges that, between the 2005 withdrawal of Israeli settlements in Gaza and the 2014 offensive, more that 11,000 rockets were launched into Israeli territory from Gaza.

Hamas forces used civilians as human shields and placed its fighters in civilian locations, it claims. That makes Hamas itself responsible for the civilian deaths, it argues.

Shaqqura insists an independent investigation should look into charges by the Israeli authorities as well.

“What we demand is investigations of all aspects of the war, without excluding anything, whether they are from Israel or from any other side,” he says.

Palestinians are not surprised by the tone of the report.

“This is what the Israeli government always says,” is the reaction of Zuhair Sanduka, a member of the Palestine National Council. “But everybody recalls that of the more than 2,000 casualties, 400 were children. And everyone in the world saw on their TV screens the bombardments of houses where civilians were living.”

Meanwhile, Israel is not cooperating with a report to be published later this week by the UN Human Rights Council. The authorities have barred UN special rapporteur on Human Rights Makarim Wibisono from entering the Palestinian territories.

“The UN Human Rights Council is biased,” says Mordechai Kedar, a political scientist with Bar Ilan University. “In the council’s document that describes the conflict, only Israel is mentioned, not Hamas.

“While Hamas were actually holding the Palestinians in Gaza as human shields, they didn’t let them out until Israel warned the people to go from the houses. They were launching missiles from houses with children and women inside, exposing them to danger. Hamas committed enormous crimes against the Palestinians because they couldn’t care less about the Palestinians.”

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