02/28/2019, 18.33
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UN accuses Israeli security forces of war crimes in Gaza

A UN report accuses the Israeli military in connection with its action against protestors in the Strip. The report is based on confidential information from military sources. It will not have any effects, source tells AsiaNews. Meanwhile, Israel goes to the polls in April with Netanyahu's leadership at risk.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – A UN panel accuses Israeli security forces of (possible) war crimes in connection with the death of at least 189 Palestinians and the wounding of another 6,100 during the weekly protests that flared up last year to Gaza.

“The Israeli security forces killed and maimed Palestinian demonstrators who did not pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury to others when they were shot, nor were they directly participating in hostilities,” the panel report said.

The panel had access to confidential information about those believed to be responsible for the killings, including snipers and commanders, which was given to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to share with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

One anonymous source in Jerusalem told AsiaNews that this report "will not have any particular effects". In the past, "international organisations, including the UN, reacted to violent acts, but nothing happened. It's just a pile of documents, worth nothing because, with someone’s veto, everything falls."

Things are "quieter" now and the recent violence has been put behind. Israel responded with force, based on fear hard to measure that led to the death of almost 200 people in less than a year.

After 30 March 2018 and the start of the "Return March", the border between the Strip and Israel saw repeated Palestinian demonstrations against Israel’s blockade, which has turned Gaza into an open-air jail, and for the recognition of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

The confrontation led to numerous episodes of violence, which Israeli activists have described as “our shame” because of the number of Palestinians casualties.

For its part, the Israeli military have claimed that they opened fire to protect the border from raids and attacks by armed gunmen.

A ceasefire seems unlikely and Gaza’s Catholic parish priest has said that the situation is "desperate".

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but has kept a tight control over its borders and coastline. Since then, it has fought three wars with Hamas, the Palestinian extremist movement that rules the Strip.

"Now everything is focused on Israel’s upcoming elections in April,” said a diplomat contacted by AsiaNews. “There is great expectation for the result and changes at the top are not excluded ".

The challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's leadership has never so strong.

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