Wednesday, 6 May 2009

United Nations inquiry into the war in Gaza

* If you were directed to this post by CNN, please read 'CNN & United Nations inquiry into the war in Gaza'.

Israel and Gaza -12
A UN investigation, which looked only at deaths, injuries and damage at UN sites in Gaza during the three-week conflict, found that Israel was responsible for at least seven attacks on UN operations. The UN report comes in the wake of an Israeli internal investigation that concluded that the during the Gaza offensive the army ‘maintained a high professional and moral level’.The full 184-page investigation report by the UN board of inquiry has not been made public, press reports are based on a 23-page summary

The UN report, commissioned by Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary-general, said the Israeli military intentionally fired at UN facilities and civilians hiding in them during the war and used disproportionate force. […]
A total of 53 installations used by the United Nations Relief and Works agency (UNRWA) were damaged or destroyed during Israel's Gaza campaign, including 37 schools - six of which were being used as emergency shelters - six health centres, and two warehouses, the UN agency said. […]

Israel's 22-day war on Gaza left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead, including around 400 children, Gaza health officials said, along with 13 Israelis. […]
It also said one of the incidents, when a World Food Programme warehouse in the Karni industrial zone in Gaza was damaged, was largely caused by a rocket "most likely" fired by Hamas or another Palestinian faction and condemned those responsible for using such "indiscriminate weapons" to cause deaths and injuries.
[The report summary] said: "The board concluded that IDF [Israeli Defence Force] actions involved varying degrees of negligence or recklessness with regard to United Nations premises and to the safety of United Nations staff and other civilians within those premises, with consequent deaths, injuries, and extensive physical damage and loss of property." […]

Israel's foreign ministry attempted to pre-empt the report today, saying the Israeli military had already investigated its own conduct during the war and "proved beyond doubt" that it did not fire intentionally at UN buildings. It dismissed the UN inquiry.

"The state of Israel rejects the criticism in the committee's summary report, and determines that in both spirit and language the report is tendentious, patently biased, and ignores the facts presented to the committee," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said the inquiry had "preferred the claims of Hamas, a murderous terror organisation, and by doing so has misled the world".
Unfortunately, secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, refuses to act on the 11th recommendation of the report, which calls for an “impartial inquiry mandated, and adequately resourced, to investigate allegations of violations of international humanitarian law". This would require Israeli cooperation and would be harder for Israel to dismiss. However, such an enquiry into human rights abuses is seemingly deemed impolitic by Ban Ki-moon.
Caterpillar Excavator destroys homes #5
The UN inquiry into the Israeli war in Gaza comes in the wake of another recent UN report that is critical of Israel’s actions in Palestine; it calls for Israel to “end Palestinian demolitions in Jerusalem”. UN Radio – ‘End Palestinian demolitions in Jerusalem, UN tells Israel
Of the 70 square kilometers of east Jerusalem and the West Bank annexed by Israel, the report says, only 13 per cent is zoned for Palestinian construction and this was mostly already built up. […]
The UN said it was particularly concerned about areas facing mass demolition, including an area south of the old city, where the threatened destruction of 90 houses would lead to the displacement of a thousand Palestinians.
More posts relating to the United Nations and Israel from The Polemical Report.

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