GENEVA – Three years after the 51-day war on Gaza, no measures have been taken by the United Nations or other bodies to hold the government of Israel to account, says the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.
“Although a UN Fact-Finding Mission into the Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip was launched, it has yielded little in the way of results,” notes Sandra Owen, spokeswoman for Euro-Med Monitor. “No international positions have been taken, and no effort has been made to hold Israel accountable for its war crimes. Creating a commission of inquiry without following up with action turns it into nothing but a paper exercise.”
The Israeli army launched a military offensive on the Gaza Strip from 7 July to 24 August 2014, killing approximately 2,147 Palestinians and wounding thousands of others. In addition, it resulted in extensive destruction of infrastructure and industrial facilities, and nearly 20,000 houses were damaged or destroyed.
Since this last Israeli assault on Gaza, Euro-Med has issued two comprehensive reports on the indiscriminate attacks and mass killings. It also issued daily reports throughout the conflict and cooperated with the UN commission of inquiry into war crimes.
The commission condemned Israel for committing grave and deliberate violations of the laws of war based on the information and testimonies it collected. It also concluded that Israeli authorities deliberately targeted civilians in houses and other buildings as part of a plan approved by their military leaders, yet none have been held accountable or brought to trial so far.
"It is important that justice and accountability take place, giving a clear message to all parties that there is no impunity, and that whomever commits a crime shall be held responsible under international law," says Owen.
According to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the people of the Gaza Strip are victims of war crimes and violations against international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions (1949). Israeli armed forces used their strongest firepower against civilians by launching 60,664 raids by land, sea and air.
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities are not allowing the entry of building and other materials necessary to rebuild, which violates the Geneva Conventions annexed to Article 54, which prohibit the destruction or removal of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.
Euro-Med calls on the international community to work hard to activate the results of UN investigations and end the long-standing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. It also calls for serious action to refer the file of the Israeli military attack on the Gaza Strip to the International Criminal Court or to a special tribunal, as well as to prosecute war criminals before national courts.