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UN says Israel should review rules of military engagement

The Chairman of the UN Gaza Commission of Inquiry, Santiago Canton, has called on Israel to review its rules of military engagement.

Canton told the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC): “The most important thing for the government of Israel is to review the rules of engagement immediately and to ensure that the rules of engagement are according to accepted international law standards.”

He made the remarks as he presented the Council with the commission’s full report into last year’s Great March of Return protests on the Gaza border. The report claims Israel may have committed “crimes against humanity” by using live ammunition against Palestinians protesters.

The Commission said it: “Found reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot at journalists, health workers, children and persons with disabilities, knowing they were clearly recognisable as such”. According to the report, Israeli security forces shot more than 6,000 Palestinians who participated in protests along the Gaza border between March and December 2018, killing 183 people, including 32 children.

Israel has rejected the report’s findings and the Israeli Foreign Ministry said: “Hamas – a terror organisation that rules Gaza.  They orchestrate violent riots, use children as human shields, dig terror tunnels, launch rockets at Israelis and shoot Gazan protestors.  Instead of condemning Hamas as the prime source of violence and instability in Gaza – the UNHRC is blaming the victims of Hamas terrorism for acting in self-defence.  Any council member which upholds peace dear must reject this resolution!”

Dore Gold, a former director-general of the Foreign Ministry, said: “Israel does not seek international forces to protect it. But it does expect one thing from the international community: the truth. That is today what Israel asks for. But when it comes to the UN, the truth has been extremely difficult to obtain.”

Yesterday Palestinians resumed their night time protests along the Gaza border with Israel. Up to 600 Palestinian protested at locations along the border, detonating  explosive devices and pointing lasers at Israeli security forces.

The Israeli military is preparing for large crowds to gather on the border to mark the one year anniversary of the start of the Gaza demonstrations on 30 March.