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UN Will Investigate Possible War Crimes in Gaza

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:04:06 +0000

iStock/Thinkstock(TEL AVIV, Israel) -- The United Nations Human Rights Council voted Wednesday to establish a commission of inquiry into incidents in Gaza, investigating whether any war crimes have been committed in the area. 

The United States was the only county to vote against establishing the investigation, while Britain, Germany, and France abstained.

Addressing the U.S. decision, State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said the country had no issue being the sole vote against the commission, adding that the U.S. will continue to stand up for Israel, "even if it means standing alone."

Experts on the Geneva Convention are sounding the alarm on unrest in Gaza, with Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch telling the BBC that both sides in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict may be guilty of war crimes.

"We see very serious violations of the Geneva Convention, the rules designed to spare civilians the hazards of conflict, which apply to both Israel and Hamas," Roth said.

Conflict in the region shows little sign of letting up as the death toll continues to climb. The U.N. says nearly 75 percent of the almost 700 Palestinians killed were civilians. Meanwhile, Israel claims to be targeting militants and accuses Hamas of using innocent people as human shields. Two Israeli civilians and more than 30 soldiers have lost their lives.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the U.N.'s decision a "travesty," adding that it, "should be rejected by decent people everywhere."

Netanyahu claimed that while Hamas is "committing a double war crime" by firing rockets at Israeli civilians, Israel has "gone to unprecedented lengths" to protect Palestinian civilians by dropping leaflets, making phone calls, and sending text messages.

"The HRC should be launching an investigation into Hamas' decision to turn hospitals into military command centers, use schools as weapons depots and place missile batteries next to playgrounds, private homes and mosques," the Prime Minister said.

"By failing to condemn Hamas's systematic use of human shields and by blaming Israel for the deaths that are caused by this grotesque human shields policy, the HRC is sending a  message to Hamas and terror organizations everywhere that using civilians as human shields is an effective strategy."


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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