The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said this Tuesday that Israel must refrain from using explosive weapons with wide effects in residential areas. The same concern was voiced a day earlier by the European Union.
This Tuesday morning, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk rebuked Israel for not allowing any access to goods and services to Gaza civilians and described the move as a violation of international law. “The blockade, which impedes civilians’ access to goods and services, violates international law,” Türk said, adding that this approach by Israel “only fans the flames of the ongoing tension in the region.”
As the war between Hamas and Israel entered its 18th day this Tuesday, the Israeli regime fighters continue to bombard the residential and medical areas of Gaza without interruption. The result, has been nearly 6 thousand killed, more than 15 thousand wounded, and well over 1 million Palestinians displaced from their homes.
Criticizing Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands as an act contrary to international law, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also asserted that Israel’s occupying Gaza by a ground invasion will also be “a gross violation” of international norms and regulations.
“The legality of the bombing of Gaza and the blockade hinges on the classification of the conflict and the interpretation of the laws of war. The principle of proportionality, which underpins these laws, prohibits attacks that would result in excessive civilian casualties compared to the anticipated military advantage. While Hamas’s reported use of civilians as shields complicates the situation, it does not absolve Israel of its primary responsibility to avoid excessive civilian deaths. This is while by blocking the supply of food, water, and medicine to Gaza, Israel is disproportionately affecting civilians, which can lead to starvation, and it is a stark breach of the principles of international humanitarian law,” Türk explained.
The European Union also pinned the blame on Israel
A day earlier on Monday, the European Union also echoed the same concerns as the UN did, with its High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Joseph Borrell calling for a “humanitarian pause” to allow aid to enter the Gaza strip amid Israel’s non-stop airstrikes.
“…There are queues and queues of trucks waiting to enter, if only Israel allows that. They have to enter, and they have to bring the things that are badly needed, in particular, the fuel needed to make — I repeat — the desalinization of water,” Borrell said in Luxembourg ahead of a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers.
Trucks carrying relief material entered Gaza on Saturday and Sunday but the United Nations reported that “hundreds” of trucks were still awaiting entry on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing because of the fear of airstrikes from Israel.
Borrell also condemned Hamas’s attack on Israel but said Israel had to stick to the rules of war in its retaliation. “Such norms apply regardless of the identity of the victim or perpetrator,” he said, adding that civilians in Gaza could not be held responsible, collectively, for Hamas’s actions.