The Gaza Saga on human rights abuses seems to get a nasty tail. A UN inquiry just published their findings.
A United Nations inquiry into the Gaza conflict earlier this year concluded that Israel intentionally struck a U.N.-run elementary school, killing three young men seeking shelter from the fighting, according to a summary released Tuesday.
The incident was one of eight in which the Israel Defense Forces fired on U.N. personnel or facilities that drew scrutiny from a three-member U.N. board of inquiry. The board found that Israel had repeatedly breached the inviolability of U.N. premises and that, in attacking another elementary school, it exhibited "reckless disregard for the lives and safety" of civilians. Two children were killed and 13 others injured in that attack.
The board also accused Hamas or another Palestinian faction of firing a Qassam-type rocket at an unoccupied World Food Program warehouse on the eastern edge of the Gaza Strip.
There was no evidence, the board said, that Palestinian militants had used U.N. facilities to launch military attacks against Israeli troops. (Full)
Update:While the 184 paged report remains confidential to protect witnesses etc.. you can find the 27 page summary of the UN inquiry report here, which goes into sufficient gruesome details, to understand the extend of the issue. The summary also includes a cover letter by the UN Secretary General.
To no surprise, Israel rejected the report’s findings and its Foreign Ministry says the inquiry board “has preferred the claims of Hamas, a murderous terror organisation, and by doing so has misled the world”. Defence Secretary Ehud Barak repeated that Israel has “the most moral army in the world” and laid full responsibility for casualties on Hamas.
The good news is that the report recommends further investigation of other both UN and non-UN related civilian deaths which have given rise to allegations of breaches of international humanitarian law by both the IDF and Hamas.
The bad news is that in his covering letter, the UN chief says he is “carefully considering” what actions “if any” to take on the 11 recommendations by the inquiry team. Mr Ban goes out of his way to thank Israel for its co-operation in the inquiry. He makes a point – urged on him by Israeli ministers and officials – of speaking out against “continued and indiscriminate” attacks by Hamas. As a conclusion: "I do not plan any further enquiries." (Full)
In short: This report concludes that it looks most probable both Hamas and Israel have committed either war crimes and/or stepped on the international humanitarian laws with excessive civilian casualties as a result. But.. let's all have a drink and forget about it...
Picture courtesy The Guardian