On Thursday, an UN-backed independent panel stated that it had ‘rational grounds’ to conclude Israeli soldiers might have committed war atrocities and shot journalists, children, as well as health workers during protests in Gaza in 2018.
Israel has totally dismissed the report, stating that its outcome had been decided before the investigation started.
In its report, which was published on Thursday, the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry into the protest, known to Palestinians as the “Great March of Return” stated that it carried out around 325 interviews with victims, witnesses and sources. They have collected over 8,000 documents, and examined social media and drone footage closely.
Santiago Canton, the Chair of the Commission, stated that the Commission has justifiable grounds to think that during the Great March of Return, Israeli soldiers carried out breach of international human rights and humanitarian law. Some of those breaches may establish war crimes or crimes against humanity, and must be promptly probed by Israel.
The panel stated that they have plausible grounds to conclude that Israeli snipers shot journalists, health workers, children and persons with disabilities, knowing well that they were clearly distinguished.
Israel refused to take part in the inquiry and the nation’s interim Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz dismissed the UN report as an absurd fiction. He claimed the UN report to be false and incorrect. Katz in a statement mentioned that Israel rejects the report completely. The Palestinian Authority Prime Minister’s spokesman Ahmad al-Shami stated that the report’s findings were “correct and were a step towards the correct direction.
Hamas welcomed the report; and senior Hamas official Basem Naim mirrored calls for the international community to hold Israel responsible.
The Commission was established by a UN Human Rights Council resolution in May 2018 to probe all supposed breaches and abuses of international law during last year’s protests in Gaza. The report stated that 189 Palestinians were killed during the protests during this period. The Commission discovered that Israeli Security Forces killed 183 of these protesters with live ammunition.