UN to inquire into human rights violations in Gaza

Updated: 2014-07-24 14:02


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GAZA - Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip Thursday entered 17th day without any sign of truce between Israel and Palestine, which prompted the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) to launch an inquiry into human rights violations from Israeli military offensive.

Israeli airstrikes continued early Thursday in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya, killing four Palestinians, medical sources said.

The four people from one family were killed when an Israeli warplane hit their home, health ministry officials told Xinhua.

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These have added to the death toll of Palestinians to more than 700 and some 4,500 others have been injured, according to the latest figures from the Gaza-based health ministry.

Israel has lost four civilians and 28 soldiers so far.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted a resolution on Wednesday and decided to launch an inquiry into human rights violations from Israeli latest military offensive in the Gaza strip.

The resolution condemned in the strongest terms the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the latest Israeli military operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that may amount to international crimes.

It also condemned all violence against civilians wherever it occurred, and called for an immediate cessation of Israeli military assaults throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and an end to attacks against all civilians, including Israeli civilians.

The council demanded that Israel immediately and fully end its illegal closure of the occupied Gaza Strip and called upon the international community to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance and services to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

In the resolution, the council decided to urgently dispatch an independent and international commission of inquiry to investigate violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip.

Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, condemned the indiscriminate attacks both in Gaza Strip and Israel and highlighted that civilians must not be targeted.

Pillay urged parties to the conflict to strictly abide by international humanitarian and human rights laws and warned that not abiding by these principles may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In response, Israel criticized the convening of this special session as misguided, ill-conceived and counter-productive to efforts being made to end hostilities, and accused Hamas of committing war crimes when it fired rockets and missiles indiscriminately at Israeli towns.

Israel noted that its military operation aimed only at Hamas military targets, not Gaza civilians, and deeply regretted any civilian losses caused by its operations and had already started investigations.

The Palestinians, on the other hand, stressed that the fundamental right to life of their people was severely endangered, and the infrastructure on the ground had been destroyed, including water supplies, roads and communication networks.

Regional and international efforts to end the ongoing fighting in Gaza also mounted, yet all endeavors have not yielded any results so far.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said earlier Wednesday during his stay in Israel that some progress was made, but that there's still work that needs to be done to reach an agreement.

He left Israel late Wednesday after a day-long visit in the country and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who arrived in Israel the preceding day, trying to bring an end to Israel's campaign in Gaza.

Regional power Egypt expressed alarms over the military assaults by Israel, and stressed that Egypt's cease-fire initiative offered last week should be supported as a way of ending the suffering of the Palestinian people.