Geneva – In a speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor called on the Council to pressure Israel to take immediate measures to protect the rights of Palestinian civilians under its occupation. Euro-Med Monitor also called on the Council to establish an independent commission of inquiry to investigate Israeli actions in Gaza, with particular emphasis on incidents that took place from 4 to 6 May 2019, to assess if these incidents amounted to war crimes under humanitarian law and international human rights law.
Israeli actions in Palestine including population displacement, the demolition of homes and businesses, and intentional targeting of civilians by military forces constituted a policy of collective punishment, which is a war crime, said a Euro-Med Monitor spokesperson in a speech to the 41st Session of Human Rights Council, in partnership with the Global Institute for Water, Environment and Health (GIWEH).
Noor Kharma, legal researcher at Euro-Med Monitor, said that the population of the Gaza Strip had been living under Israeli siege since 2007. She also noted that Israel had failed to implement UN Security Council resolutions that protect Palestinians, and that Israeli troops had committed many crimes against those living in Gaza.
"According to the international humanitarian and human rights law, Israeli actions against Palestinians living under occupation, including the latest crimes against them, amount to war crimes that require special attention," Kharma explained.
According to Euro-Med Monitor, more recent Israeli incursions into the Gaza Strip in May resulted in the deaths of 31 people, including four women and three children, as well as injuring 121 and displacing over 250 others after their homes were destroyed by Israeli warplanes.
Kharma expressed regret at the continued violations of the human rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories, and that Israel was yet to be held to account for committing these violations.