The report into Israel’s war on Gaza last summer by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) found that both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes during Israel’s war on Gaza last summer.
But while some newspaper headlines may give the impression of equal blame, the UNHRC’s commission of inquiry nevertheless highlighted the disproportionate nature of the killings—2,251 Palestinians of whom 1,462 were civilians were killed and 11,231 injured, compared to just 67 Israeli soldiers along with 6 civilians killed and 1,600 injured.
In its citation of evidence illustrating the lack of symmetry in Israel’s and Hamas’s policies and practices, the report provides a devastating indictment of Israel’s 2014 war against the Palestinians, a war whose genocidal conduct was deliberate, not accidental, and determined at the highest level of government.
The investigative commission based its report on more than 280 interviews and more than 500 written testimonies and evidence gathered in an 11-month inquiry. Israel refused to allow the investigative team into the West Bank or Gaza.
The commission’s work was further hampered by pressure from both Tel Aviv and Washington for the removal of the study’s chairperson, the Canadian academic William Schabas, whom they accused of bias against Israel as he had carried out consultancy work for the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Another member of the panel, US jurist Mary McGowan Davis, considered more pro-Israeli, replaced him.
The commission will formally present its report to the UNHRC on June 29 in Geneva.
Notwithstanding the switch of its chairperson, the report demonstrated the brutal nature of the war carried out by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). It found that Israel’s response to rocket fire from Gaza was disproportionate and could amount to a war crime, warranting a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC).