War: UN: Israel does not protect civilians in Gaza enough

War: UN: Israel does not protect civilians in Gaza enough
War: UN: Israel does not protect civilians in Gaza enough

According to the UN Human Rights Office, the use of bombs that destroy entire blocks of houses violates the laws of war. These have been violated more than once in the Gaza Strip. Israel is outraged.

According to the UN Human Rights Office, Israel did not adequately protect civilians when using precision-guided bombs during the Gaza war.

“The requirement to choose means and methods of warfare in such a way that civilian harm is avoided or at least kept to a minimum was clearly consistently violated in the Israeli bombing campaign,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, in Geneva. He presented a report entitled “Indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks during the conflict in Gaza.” Israel rejected the report.

“You wanted hell, you will get hell”

Statements show that Israel has ignored the necessary protection of civilians, the report says. The UN office quotes, for example, the Israeli newspaper “Haaretz”, which quoted statements from a military spokesman in October 2023. He said that although the accuracy of the targets and the extent of the damage were being weighed up, “at the moment we are focusing on what causes the maximum damage”.

Another representative of the armed forces, addressing the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas and the residents of the Gaza Strip, said: “Human beasts are being treated accordingly. Israel has imposed a total blockade on Gaza. No electricity and no water, only damage. You wanted hell, you will get hell.”

Civilian facilities should be spared

The office has investigated six Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip between October 9 and December 2, 2023. It believes that GBU-31, GBU-32 and GBU-39 bombs, which can penetrate concrete and destroy several floors of a building, were used. Residential buildings, a school, a refugee camp and a market were attacked.

At least 218 people were killed, probably more. In an attack with probably nine GBU-31 bombs on December 2nd, the destruction affected a circle with a diameter of 130 meters. In this area, 15 residential buildings were destroyed and 14 others damaged.

According to the law of war, a part of international humanitarian law, civilian facilities must be spared as far as possible during attacks. If fighters are suspected to be there, it must be considered whether the damage caused by the means used could not exceed the desired goals. The principles of distinction, necessity and proportionality are among those at play.

Even if one or more terrorists or those involved in the massacres in Israel on October 7 and 8 were in a building, this does not make an entire neighborhood a legitimate target of an attack, the report says. Referring to the bombs, the head of the UN Human Rights Office for the Israeli-occupied territories, Ajith Sunghay, said in Geneva: “Using such weapons in a densely populated area like Gaza makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to comply with the principles. It is advisable not to use these weapons.”

Criticism of Palestinian groups

“Israel’s methods and means in the Gaza Strip since October 7, including the extensive use of explosive weapons with a wide-area impact in densely populated areas, have not ensured that they effectively distinguish between civilians and combatants,” the report says. They may also constitute crimes against humanity.

The report also criticizes Palestinian armed groups that fire projectiles at Israel that can hit civilians. The UN Office for Human Rights reminds that military equipment or personnel should not be stationed in densely populated areas.

Israel opposes

As it has often done before, Israel accused the UN Human Rights Office of being anti-Israel. “There is therefore no doubt that the sole aim of this thematic report is to stigmatize and condemn Israel while continuing to protect Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip,” said a statement from the embassy in Geneva. Israel is fighting Hamas and other armed groups, not the civilian population. However, Hamas is deliberately hiding among civilians in order to cause as much damage as possible.

Israel has previously repeatedly accused Hamas of operating in schools, mosques and hospitals, using civilians as human shields, and knowingly accepting the deaths of civilians in order to influence public opinion worldwide. Israel has also repeatedly pointed out that Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip have fired thousands of rockets towards Israel – without any consideration for the Israeli civilian population.

Source: Stern

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