UN welcomes Gaza-Israel ceasefire amid calls for the ICC to investigate the violations
Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice
Geneva: May 21, 2021
UN experts called on all parties to the conflict in Gaza and Israel to respect the ceasefire, and for an investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into the attacks on the civilian population and other serious human rights violations.
The spark of war began with forced evictions in Jerusalem:
In a statement published by the Media Center of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 21 May, the experts pointed out that the forced evictions of Palestinian families living in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem were the spark that ignited the full-blown war.
The experts explained that that war resulted in the killing of at least 222 people, among them, 63 children were in Gaza. Twelve people were killed in Israel as a result, and more than 450 buildings in the Gaza Strip were completely destroyed or damaged by missiles; among them are six hospitals, nine health care centers, and a desalination plant that supplies around 250,000 Palestinians with clean drinking water, in addition to a tower that houses media offices such as Al-Jazeera and The Associated Press.
The experts said: “Owing to the vast asymmetry of power, the victims of this conflict are disproportionately Palestinians in Gaza, of whom over 74,000 have been forcibly displaced and made homeless, mostly women and children.
“The conflict has led to a new wave of unprecedented mass destruction of civilian homes and infrastructure, including electrical grids in Gaza, and indiscriminate or deliberate missile attacks on civilians and residential areas in Israel and Gaza, that violate not only international human rights standards, but amount as well to crimes under international law for which there is individual and State responsibility,” the experts added.
The indiscriminate and deliberate bombing of civilians is a war crime:
The experts stated in their statement that: “The indiscriminate or deliberate bombardment of civilians and towers housing civilians in Gaza and Israel, as well as media organizations and refugee camps in Gaza, are war crimes that are, prima facie, not justified by the requirements of proportionality and necessity under international law. All parties who engage in such attacks must bear individual and State responsibility as appropriate. ”
The experts urged Israel and the authorities in Gaza to restore electrical, fuel, water and food supply to Gaza, and to ensure the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, pointing out that there is an immediate need to provide emergency housing and restore homes that have been destroyed or rendered unusable.
The experts also called on all countries, especially those that support Israel or the Palestinian Authority financially, to stop exporting all military weapons that fuel this conflict, and to require all other aid to abide by human rights and humanitarian law.
Negotiating peace and investigating violations:
The experts stressed that all parties must commit to a credible negotiation process that will aim for a durable peace in the framework of international law and human rights, end the occupation of Palestinian territories, forced evictions and housing demolitions, arbitrary displacement and unlawful transfer of population, and the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied territories.
“We also call on them to address discrimination and segregation experienced by residents in the occupied territories as well as by many Palestinian citizens within Israel, including in education, housing, the freedom of movement and choice of place of residence and other domains,” the experts added.
The experts urged the International Criminal Court to investigate actions by all parties that violated the Rome Statute, especially war crimes, including targeting civilians, and mass and indiscriminate violations of the right to adequate housing, and to investigate the actions and policies that occurred during the conflict, some of which may amount to the crime of apartheid and crimes against humanity.