UN human rights council launches inquiry into Israeli war crimes in Gaza

Geneva, July 24, IRNA -- The UN Human Rights Council voted Wednesday to launch an inquiry into war crimes by Israel in its disproportionate bombardment of civilian targets in Gaza, observers say the Israeli leaders have perpetrated crimes against humanity.

The council’s inquiry would investigate “all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law” in Palestinian areas.

The resolution was drafted by Palestine, and supported by 29 of the 46-member council.

The US voted against the resolution, while European countries abstained.

The vote came after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay suggested that war crimes might have been committed in the Gaza Strip.

She accused Israel of doing too little to avoid civilian deaths, and condemning Hamas for “indiscriminate attacks” on Israel.

Civilian casualties in Gaza have soared, according to the UN. As of Thursday, 757 Palestinians had been killed, of which 571 were civilians, including 182 children and 95 women, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Israel says 30 have also been killed during the conflict, mostly members of the armed forces.

Israeli tanks and aircraft continued their thrust into the sliver of Palestinian coastal territory on Thursday.

Israel says it is aiming to eliminate Hamas’ rocket systems and destroy the tunnels that the Islamist group uses to wage war.

Israel struck 35 targets overnight. But there were more reports of Palestinian civilians killed; six members of the same family and an 18-month-old infant boy were killed when an Israeli airstrike hit the Jebaliya refugee camp.