Zionist crimes in Gaza were so egregious that even the UN has been forced to confirm them. Summary of an inquiry commission's findings were released on April 27 confirming that the Zionists attacked seven UN-run schools killing 44 Palestinian civilians and injuring 227 others.
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 10:38 DST
Zionist Israel deliberately targeted seven United Nations run-schools in Gaza during its onslaught on the besieged enclave in July-August, 2014. The military assaults on schools resulted in killing 44 Palestinians and injuring 227 others. The overall death toll from the Israeli onslaught during the 50-day bombardment was more than 2200 Palestinian civilians. These are the findings of a UN inquiry commission established last November to investigate Israeli war crimes in Gaza.
Retired general Patrick Cammaert of the Dutch army headed the UN inquiry commission and assisted by military and legal experts from other countries. A summary of the 207-page report was released on April 27. UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon also released a covering letter with the report in which he condemned Israel’s attacks on UN-run schools “as a matter of the utmost gravity.” He went on: “those who looked to them for protection and who sought and were granted shelter there had their hopes and trust denied.”
The UN chief insisted that UN locations were “inviolable” but did not elaborate as to what action, if any his organization will take against the Zionist regime. He merely stated: “I will work with all concerned and spare no effort to ensure that such incidents will never be repeated.”
That’s it? No punishment for war criminals and have these criminals ever been constrained by UN inquiry reports or slap on the wrist, if any? Two schools in particular—one at Jabaliya and the other at Beit Hanoun—a large numbers of children were murdered. In the UNRWA school in Jabaliya, Israeli shells killed 20 people and wounding dozens. In another UN-run school in Beit Hanoun 15 Palestinian children were killed in the playground as they awaited evacuation while dozens more injured. The location of these schools was clearly known to Israeli forces.
Chris Gunness, spokesman for UNRWA, who was in charge of the UN agency that runs these schools in Gaza, confirmed: “The inquiry found that despite numerous notifications to the Israeli army of the precise GPS coordinates of the schools and numerous notifications about the presence of displaced people, in all seven cases investigated by the Board of Inquiry when our schools were hit directly or in the immediate vicinity, the hit was attributable to the IDF (sic).
“The board confirms the use by the IDF of weaponry such as 120 mm high explosive anti-tank projectiles and 155 MM high explosive projectiles on or in the surrounding area of UNRWA schools where civilians had taken refuge.
“In the incidents investigated at least 44 people were killed and 227 injured including women and children. In none of the schools that were hit directly or in the immediate vicinity, were weapons discovered or fired from. If it were confirmed that militants did fire rockets from our schools we would condemn it, just as we robustly condemned other violations of our neutrality.”
International humanitarian law requires attacking forces in areas where there are non-combatants to protect civilians. The principle of proportionality—responding with proportional force to any attacks on troops—is part of the safeguards contained in international law. These are even more stringent when civilians are under UN protection. Israeli aggression on Gaza resulted in the killing of more than 2,200 Palestinian civilians, at least a third of them children, and the destruction of schools, hospitals, factories and even homes and apartment buildings.
While the UN inquiry report has confirmed Zionist crimes, Israeli officials tried to pressure the UN to delay release of the report citing their own inquiry into the attacks. By going ahead with releasing at least a summary of the report, the UN has confirmed that Zionist officials—military as well as civilian—are war criminals. It is a different matter whether any consequences for Zionist war criminals. In an attempt to maintain balance, Ban ki-Moon also condemned Palestinians for “hiding weapons in schools” but had to concede that “the three schools at which weaponry was found were empty at the time and were not being used as shelters.”
Perhaps the only silver lining in the report’s release at this time is that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has become a signatory to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Palestinian officials have indicated they would ask the ICC to launch war crimes inquiry against Israeli officials. If the PA goes ahead with this option, it will put severe pressure on the Zionist war criminals. Given the nature of these institutions and the Western regimes’ virtually total control of them, nothing much can be expected but Zionist officials will be exposed further. At the very least, some of them would be constrained from traveling abroad for fear of being apprehended on war crimes charges.