UN assembly votes for probes of Gaza war charges

UN assembly votes for probes of Gaza war charges

In a move that angered Israel, the U.N. General Assembly voted on Thursday to urge the Jewish state and Palestinians to investigate war crimes charges leveled in a controversial U.N. report on the Gaza war.

The Arab-drafted resolution is nonbinding and unlikely to lead to inquiries by either Israel or the militant Palestinian Hamas movement that rules Gaza into their conduct during the December-January conflict.

But the outcome was seen by Arab states as a public relations coup and a public discomfiture for Israel, which has reacted with outrage to the findings of the U.N. report, as have American Jewish groups. [continued…]

No safe haven for suspected war criminals

The Jerusalem Post recently quoted Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the US, as lamenting the “tactical” problem of Israel being unable to defend itself without facing prosecution. He added that “no one in Israel buys” that the Israeli military targeted civilians during Operation Cast Lead last winter.

“It goes not just against all of our principles, but the personal knowledge of people who participated in the operation,” he said, adding that he was speaking from personal experience.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, human rights campaigners and lawyers working in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been collecting evidence of serious human rights violations by Israel’s military for many years. Some of those violations appear to amount to grave breaches (i.e. war crimes) contrary to the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949, which protects civilians living under military occupation. After many years of placing the evidence of such war crimes before the Israeli legal system and attempting to seek justice locally, Palestinian victims have lost any faith in the Israeli legal system. [continued…]

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