(QNN) – After one year since the Great Return March protests kicked off in Gaza, a recent UN investigation has concluded that “Israel may have committed war crimes in their lethal response to Palestinian demonstrations in Gaza.”
UN investigators have accused Israeli soldiers of intentionally firing on civilians and said they may have committed war crimes in their lethal response to Palestinian demonstrations in Gaza.
The independent Commission of Inquiry, set up last year by the UN’s human rights council, has published a statement that says the panel found “reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot at journalists, health workers, children and persons with disabilities, knowing they were clearly recognisable as such”.
The Israeli government denounced the report and described it as “hostile, mendacious and slanted”.
The investigation denied the Israeli claims of “terror activities” by Palestinians or the presence of Palestinian fighters during the protests and assured that the demonstrations were “civilian in nature.” It, furthermore, stated that the “violence” the Gazans showed in the protests, such as throwing stones and infiltrating into the occupied territories, did not amount to combat or military campaigns.
The investigation also said that “Israel” killed and injured Palestinians “who were neither directly participating in hostilities, nor posing an imminent threat.” It described the Israeli violations as “serious human rights and humanitarian law violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.”
The inquiry conducted 325 interviews with victims and witnesses, it said, and analysed social media and audio-visual material, including drone footage.
The Great Return March demonstrations have started in March 2018. Over 250 Palestinian demonstrators were killed by Israeli fire, and almost 20,000 others were injured.