Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Israel, Gaza, West Bank: Update--UN's Pillay Assets Israel Has Committed War Crimes, Hamas' Use of Human Shields is the Reason

According to The Latin American Tribune, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay of South Africa on Wednesday (July 23) warned that Israeli military attacks on Gaza could constitute a war crime, as the death toll in Israel’s two-week offensive on the Palestinian enclave rose to 670, mostly civilians.

COMMENT: Dr. Pillay's assertion could well be in question if it is ultimately proved that the reason for differing casualty counts is because Hamas has from the beginning used Palestinians as "human shields" at military sites.

Despite Pillay's claim, the top UN official present branded as "unacceptable" the indiscriminate rocket attacks by Palestinian militants against Israel, stressing that “the houses of civilians are not legitimate targets unless they are used or contribute to military purposes. When in doubt, the houses of civilians are not legitimate targets."

Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts to end the conflict continued, as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and was expected to travel later to Ramallah for talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Kerry landed at an Israeli military airport after the US and European countries suspended all flights to Tel Aviv for 24 hours citing security reasons as a Palestinian rocket fell near the Ben Gurion Airport.

The US Secretary of State was also expected to meet in Jerusalem with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has traveled to the area in an attempt to secure a humanitarian truce that will allow negotiations for a permanent ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian movement, Hamas.

Since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 to end rocket attacks from Gaza, more than 600 Palestinians have been killed and more than 4,000 have been injured, while 31 Israelis have lost their lives, 29 of them troops.

Again, it needs to emphasized that the high Palestinian casualties is a direct result of Hamas gratuitously using the Palestinians as "human shields" at typically military targets.