Israel could be guilty of war crimes, UN high commissioner for human rights

Geneva, July 23, IRNA -- There is a "strong possibility" Israel is violating international law in Gaza, the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Wednesday.

Opening an emergency debate at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Navi Pillay said Israel's punitive house demolitions and killing of Palestinians raised serious concerns of excessive use of force.

Pillay also condemned the indiscriminate firing of rockets and mortars by Hamas into Israel.

"Once again, the principles of distinction and precaution are clearly not being observed during such indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas by Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups," she said.

"Every one of these incidents must be properly and independently investigated."

More than 650 Palestinians have been killed as well as 29 Israeli soldiers and two civilians as two weeks of airstrikes and rocket attacks were followed by an Israeli ground offensive inside Gaza.

The Geneva rights forum convened the special one-day session at the request of the Palestinians, Egypt and Pakistan.

Reporters in Gaza say that Israel is pursuing ethnic cleansing in Gaza and deliberately seeks to take heavy tolls on the civilians enjoying support from Washington.