UN Says Israel Committed War Crimes While Responding to Gaza Protests, Israel Rejects Report
United Nations investigators said on Thursday Israeli security forces may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in killing 189 Palestinians and wounding more than 6,100 at weekly protests in Gaza last year, Reuters reported.
The independent panel said it had confidential information about those it believes to be responsible for the killings, including snipers and commanders.
“The Israeli security forces killed and maimed Palestinian demonstrators who did not pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury to others when they were shot, nor were they directly participating in hostilities,” it said in its report.
For its part, Israel rejected what the report stated, as acting Foreign Minister Israel Katz described it “another hostile, mendacious and slanted report against the State of Israel ... No one can deny Israel the right of self-defense and the obligation to defend its citizens and borders from violent attacks.”
According to Reuters, the panel, led by Argentine legal expert Santiago Canton, said individual members of the Israeli security forces killed and gravely injured civilians who were “neither directly participating in hostilities nor posing an imminent threat”.
“Some of these violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity and must be immediately investigated by Israel,” Canton said.
Thirty-five children, two journalists and three “clearly-marked” paramedics were among those killed by Israeli forces, in violation of international humanitarian law, it said.
In the ongoing border protests dubbed ‘The Great March of Return’, Gazans are calling for the right to return to lands from which their ancestors fled or were forced to flee.