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28 Feb, 2019 09:15

Israeli killings of Palestinians at Gaza protests last year may amount to war crimes – UN inquiry

Israeli killings of Palestinians at Gaza protests last year may amount to war crimes – UN inquiry

The Israeli military may have committed war crimes in 2018 when 189 Palestinians were killed and 6,100 wounded at Gaza protests, a UN human rights inquiry has found.

Palestinian demonstrators “did not pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury to others when they were shot, nor were they directly participating in hostilities,” the panel’s report said on Thursday, citing confidential information about those responsible for the killings.

The commission said every use of live fire during the protests was unlawful, while also calling on Palestinians to cease the use of incendiary kites and balloons.

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The UN report took into account hundreds of interviews with witnesses and victims, as well as medical records, photos, video and drone footage.

The independent panel wants the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to pass the findings to the International Criminal Court.

Tel Aviv slammed the report, branding accusations a “theatre of the absurd.”

“No one can deny Israel the right of self-defence and the obligation to defend its citizens and borders from violent attack,” Acting Foreign Minister Israel Katz said.

A massive wave of protests known as the “Great march of the Return” started at the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on March 30 and lasted until the end of 2018. Protesters called for an end to the siege imposed on Gaza by Israel and Egypt for over a decade.

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Israeli authorities claimed they used force to proteсt the border from attacks by armed militants. 

In June 2018, the United States quit the UN Human Rights Council, saying it was biased against Israel.

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