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Middle East: UN: Possible war crimes during hostage rescue

Middle East: UN: Possible war crimes during hostage rescue

According to reports, more than 270 people were killed during the liberation of the four Israeli hostages in the Gaza Strip. The UN Human Rights Office has made serious accusations against Israel.

The UN Human Rights Office has spoken of possible war crimes in connection with the Israeli hostage release in the Gaza Strip because of the high number of casualties on the Palestinian side.

“We are deeply shocked by the impact of the Israeli military’s operation to free four hostages in Nuseirat on the civilian population,” the office said in Geneva. The experts doubted that the principles of international humanitarian law were observed. “The way this operation was carried out was catastrophic because civilians were in the middle of it,” said the office’s spokesman, Jeremy Laurence.

Possible war crimes also on the Palestinian side

War crimes may also have been committed on the Palestinian side. This includes holding hostages in a densely populated area, which in a conflict puts the lives of both the hostages and Palestinian civilians in danger. Only courts can definitively determine whether war crimes have been committed, said Laurence.

One of the hostages reported that she had been taken from apartment to apartment during her almost eight months of hostage-taking and had finally been housed with a family. This violates international humanitarian law, stressed Laurence. Nevertheless, the principles must be taken into account in a rescue operation.

According to the health authority controlled by the Islamist Hamas, more than 270 people were killed in the Nuseirat refugee camp on Saturday during the rescue of the four Israeli hostages who were abducted from Israel in the terrorist attack on October 7, 2023. The spokesman could not comment on reports that the Israeli soldiers hid in an aid truck during the rescue operation because the office had no information of its own on the matter.

The principles of international humanitarian law

There are three principles that are prescribed in international humanitarian law in armed conflicts. The principle of distinction: Parties to a conflict must always distinguish between the civilian population and civilian objects on the one hand and the military and military facilities on the other. The principle of necessity: possible collateral damage – civilian casualties or destruction of civilian facilities – must be proportionate to the military advantage. The principle of proportionality: damage must be kept as small as possible.

Guterres laments extent of “bloodbath and killing”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has once again urged all parties involved in the Gaza war to reach an agreement. The horror must stop, it is high time for a ceasefire and the unconditional release of the hostages, said Guterres at an emergency summit organized by Jordan and Egypt for humanitarian aid for the people of the Gaza Strip. The speed and extent of the “bloodbath and killing” in the Gaza Strip exceeds anything he has ever seen in his role as UN Secretary-General. One million Palestinians are suffering from hunger and have no clean drinking water.

According to Jordan, the summit on the coast of the Dead Sea south of the Jordanian capital Amman is intended to find ways in which the international community can respond more effectively to the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip. Jordan and Egypt have repeatedly denounced the catastrophic humanitarian situation since the beginning of the war. Almost all of the 2.3 million people in Gaza have been displaced by fighting, and there is a lack of food, shelter, medicine and clean water, among other things.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Israel was “directly responsible for the unprecedented humanitarian crisis.” This was the “deliberate result of a destructive war of revenge,” Al-Sisi said. Israel must stop using hunger as a weapon and allow the delivery of aid to the sealed-off coastal area.

Source: Stern

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