UN investigators: Israel´s response to Gaza protests could constitute "crime against humanity"

UN investigators said on Thursday they had found evidence of Israel committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in return marches near the Gaza Strip border.

A UN commission of inquiry, composed of independent human rights experts, said in Geneva Thursday that targeting unarmed protesters and committing acts of violence "may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity."

The Committee stressed that Israel's response to the Gaza demonstrations in 2018 "could constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity," while investigators pointed out that snipers targeted civilians, including children.

"Israeli soldiers have committed violations of international humanitarian law and human rights," said Santiago Canton, head of the commission. "Some of these violations could constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity and Israel must investigate them immediately."

However, the Commission acknowledged that some of the protesters were members of armed groups and that the organizers of the protests, including Hamas gunmen, encouraged the use of kites and balloons, causing damage and fear among Israelis.

The Committee's report rejected Israel's assertion that protests near the Gaza-Israel fence, which began last March, were a cover for terrorist activities and concluded that the nature of the demonstrations was civilian.


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