Israel Under Investigation for War Crimes in Gaza
The United Nations Human Rights Council has just agreed to launch an investigation into violations that may have been committed by Israel during its last military offensive in Gaza.
The Gaza Health Ministry reported 664 Palestinian deaths from the attack; though it’s unclear how many of these were civilian, the United Nations estimates the count to be around 70 percent. With the country now under investigation, the Human Rights Council is pushing for increased precautions and an end to the blockade of Gaza, which is the underlying conflict between the two nations. Still, it’s unclear whether these actions from the U.N. will fix anything.
While Israel certainly holds more responsibility for the death count in the conflict (more than 550 Gazans were killed, compared to 25 Israeli soldiers and 2 Israeli citizens,) pressure from external forces is not changing the country’s stance on the issue.
“Israel must not agree to any proposal for a cease-fire until the tunnels are eliminated,” said Gilad Eran, the right-wing minister of communications. In fact, both sides remain adamant on their stance: while Israelis feel they withdrew from Gaza only to allow it to become a launching pad for rockets, Hamas refuse to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.
Israel’s envoy to the UNHRC, Eviatar Manor, responded to the HRC’s comments, stating that Hamas was in fact committing war crimes by using people as “human shields” and insisted that it was a terrorist group. “There can be no moral symmetry between a terrorist aggressor and a democracy defending himself,” Manor preached.
Nevertheless, the conflict’s lopsided death toll has raised skepticism from parties other than the United Nations. The United States’ Secretary of State, John Kerry, recently urged a cease-fire, as well. Yet the battle seems to only be half-finished.
“With Hamas there, there is no option for a political solution,” said Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. “If anybody believes in peace negotiations, two-state solution, Gaza is clear proof we are far away.”
– Nick Magnanti
Sources: The Guardian, CNN, The New York Times