UN human rights chief slams Israel’s Gaza response as ‘wholly disproportionate’
The UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein slammed on Friday Israel’s deadly reaction to protests along the Gaza border as”wholly disproportionate”, backing calls for an international investigation.
Addressing a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on the violence which has claimed more than 100 Gazan lives in six weeks, al-Hussein warned that”killing resulting from the unlawful use of force by an occupying power may also constitute wilful killings, a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention”.
He pointed out though that while 60 Palestinians were killed and thousands injured in a single day of protests on Monday,”on the Israeli side, one soldier was reportedly wounded, slightly, by a stone.”
“The stark contrast in casualties on both sides is ... suggestive of a wholly disproportionate response,” he told the council. He added that Violations of the Geneva Conventions adopted in 1949 following World War II are commonly called”war crimes”, although Zeid did not explicitly use that word.
Zeid said he supported the call for “an investigation that is international, independent and impartial, in the hope the truth regarding these matters will lead to justice.”
The special UN session comes after six weeks of mass protests and clashes along the Gaza border with Palestinian refugees demanding the right to return to their homes inside what is now Israel.
Israel has justified its actions, arguing it was necessary to stop mass infiltrations from the blockaded Palestinian enclave which is run by the Islamist Hamas movement. The council is due to consider a draft resolution calling for the urgent dispatch of”an independent, international commission of inquiry” -- the UN’s highest-level of investigation.