UN commission accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes News
badwanart0 / Pixabay
UN commission accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes

Israeli forces have committed war crimes and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, and there are “reasonable grounds” to conclude Hamas and loyalists have done the same, a UN inquiry concluded in a report released Wednesday.

The report, which covers Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks on Israeli civilians and the initial phase of Israel’s retaliatory invasion of Gaza, was produced by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel (Commission). The UN Human Rights Council established the Commission in 2021 to monitor human rights and humanitarian concerns in the region.

On its findings against Hamas and supporters, the Commission reported:

In relation to the attack of 7 October in Israel, the Commission concludes on reasonable grounds that members of the military wings of Hamas and of other Palestinian armed groups, as well as Palestinian civilians who were directly participating in the hostilities, deliberately killed, injured, mistreated, took hostages and committed [sexual and gender-based violence] … These actions constitute war crimes and violations and abuses of IHL and IHRL.

In the course of Israel’s retaliatory invasion of Gaza, which began about a week after the Oct. 7 attacks, the Commission accused Israel of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law:

[T]he immense numbers of civilian casualties and widespread destruction of civilian objects and crucial civilian infrastructure are the inevitable results of Israel’s chosen strategy for the use of force during these hostilities, undertaken with intent to cause maximum damage, disregarding distinction, proportionality and adequate precautions.

The report also accused Israel of using “starvation as a method of war” against the people of Gaza. In February of this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of a surge in malnutrition cases among children and pregnant/breastfeeding women.

The Commission urged both factions to end hostilities and prioritize the health and well-being of civilians.

Following the report’s release, Israeli diplomats accused the Commission of “systematic anti-Israeli discrimination.”

The Commission’s findings come amid an ongoing genocide case against Israel in the International Court of Justice.